RRE Ventures-Backed SideTour Raises $1.5M - cbl

Citybizlist Oct 18, 2011 Back to press

By Richard Rabicoff

NEW YORK -- Ever wanted to paint grafitti on a subway car or challenge a successful entrepreneur to a pinball game?

Daily deals site SideTour promises to provide a "one-of-a-kind experience," to to make your most outlandish dreams come true. The company's dream is also coming true, as it raised $1.5 million from New York-backed RRE Ventures and Boulder, Colo.-based Foundry Group.

The start up was founded in July of this year by CEOVipin Goyal (Joost, MTV Networks, McKinsey & Company, HBS); Aaron Foss (Algeran, R.I.T.); Minesh Mistry (General Atlantic, Morgan Stanley‚Äč, HBS); and Mark Webster (Kickstart Concepts, Joost, NBA, F.I.T.)

SideTour aims to provide users with unconventional retail and dining experiences, such as a private cruise of New York Harbor, spray painting a subway car, or a pasta making workshop at La Cucina di Caterina. The company, part of the TechStars incubator program, plans to expand from its New York base to markets around the world.

Goyal was previously VP of Business Development at Joost, an online video company started by the founders of Skype. Before that he was Director of Strategy & Business Development at MTV Networks International. Goyal began his career as a business analyst at McKinsey & Company, in Chicago and Mumbai. The idea for SideTour sprang from a 2009 world tour Goyal took with his wife.

In a press release, the company claims to differentiate itself from dozens of other deal sites:

• SideTour is built as an appointment-based platform (versus a listing service) where every experience is designed as a small group event with a specific date, time and number of spots;
• SideTour is focused on the uniqueness of each experience;
• SideTour is a peer-to-peer platform where every experience is hosted by a uniquely qualified individual;
• SideTour is creating new inventory by bringing new experience providers into the market; as a result, we're tapping into a new independent expert economy.

Does anybody else think this website could spawn a reality TV series?

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