This Seattle startup depends on its website users to contribute travel stories with tips about traveling to specific place.
What: Jrrny, a Seattle travel website where content is written by users.
Who: John Kueber, founder and CEO.
Biking toward a business: Kueber thought the travel-industry business was tapped out — everything was already covered. Then he planned a biking trip through the Pyrenees mountains in France and got frustrated. Hotels, flights and common attractions such as museums and churches could be found easily online. But suggestions for hangout spots — great cafes, skate parks and outdoor getaways — were elusive.
From the people: Jrrny, founded in November, focuses on two aspects of travel — location and experience. All the stories on the site are written by users, people who want to share tips about traveling to a specific place. Posts are titled with names such as “Rotterdam, Netherlands, for Architecture Wonder” and “Milwaukee, WI, United States for craft doughnuts.”
Not your day planner: Jrrny isn’t in the business of creating an itinerary for travelers, or even helping them find a hotel. It’s also not a review site. “It’s all about discovering great experiences,” Kueber said.
The best at the top: Jrrny allows hotels and visitors’ bureaus to pay to post content labeled as “sponsored” and featured near the top of the site. The company’s first sponsored customer is The Lodges on Vashon, a hotel on Vashon Island. Kueber said Jrrny also will be sure that user content doesn’t get drowned out. Posts with the most up votes get pushed higher on the site.
User magazine: Kueber spent the past seven years of his career as the chief operating officer at Tiger Oak Publications, which publishes Seattle Magazine and Seattle Business, among others. Now, he aims to make Jrrny a sort of online travel magazine, with all articles written by travelers.
Funding and growing: Jrrny has two full-time employees so far, and raised a seed round of funding from angel investors in Seattle. Kueber said the company plans to approach investors outside of the state for its next round.
— Rachel Lerman