13. January 2012–
Ashton Kutcher has invested in yet another Berlin startup, this time the activity-booker-meets-social-networking site Gidsy.
The seed funding is confirmed at $1.4 million and comes from Sunstone Capital, along with Index Ventures, Werner Vogels (of Amazon), Peter Read (UK) and the aforementioned Kutcher. The new investors join Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss from Soundcloud, Matt Stinchcomb from Etsy, Felix Petersen from Amen and Christophe Maire, who provided the company’s early financing.
In addition to Kutcher's funding, the round is financed by a major US VC which has taken strong interest in several Berlin start-ups in the past. "What I love about Gidsy is that they are creating a movement and a strong, credible community of likeminded people," said supporter Felix Petersen in an interview with VentureVillage. "It's important that like-minded businesses and individuals in Berlin cross-invest and help each other out."
Kutcher has invested in over 40 tech companies to date, some of which remain unnamed out of fear that his own publicity would overshadow the product itself. On his December visit to Berlin, Kutcher expressed interest in Gidsy to several partygoers and this week sees him sign on the dotted line with founders Edial Dekker (CEO), Floris Dekker (CPO) and Philipp Wassibauer (CTO). "The culture in San Francisco is completely different in SF than NY," said Dekker in an interview with VentureVillage. "For one thing it's more active. For an experience-based platform, these are interesting sociological challenges that we take interest in meeting."
Gidsy allows users to offer paid-for activities and courses to other members of the community, as well as full social networking integration. Initially launched for the Berlin area, Gidsy now covers Amsterdam, New York and San Francisco, with London to follow soon. Gidsy's business model (charging 10% of each transaction) differs from similar US services like SideTour in NY (which charges a higher 20%) and Vayable (available in six cities, charging a 15% fee). How they will hold up against American competition is yet to be seen.
"I think in 2012 it is going to be about building a sustainable base. Meaning, they need to focus a lot on the supply side," Petersen tells VentureVillage. "Building a core flow of activities in every city with really cool tours and loyal and talented hosts. It's really about quality in 2012, scale comes later."