The mobile startup Didit wants to make finding that perfect restaurant or fantasy vacation spot a bit more like online dating and less like online shopping.
The company, founded by digital media veteran David Paschkes, has raised $2 million in seed funding from some prominent names in digital media. They include Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of the consulting firm Brave Ventures; Wenda Harris Millard, president and chief operating officer of MediaLink; and Fred Santarpia, executive vice president and chief digital officer at Conde Nast.
Didit aims to help people find places to visit or activities they’d like to try by tapping into people’s real life social networks. It can find your friends that either have similar tastes and make recommendations, or it can help you make plans with a group of friends.
Plus, Didit also promises to help people collect and save ideas for future activities via the app. Say a user reads a restaurant review or combs through a list like “Top Places to Travel in Your 30s” but isn’t necessarily in a let’s-book-this-now mode. That information can be saved in the app for reference later.
“This is about getting information from people that matter to you, and making it actionable,” said Mr. Paschkes, who is headed to the Cannes advertising festival next week to showcase the social app.
Didit, which will roll out in open beta this fall, resembles Tinder or Flipboard in that people can swipe through pictures of potential places they’d like to go. The thinking, according to Mr. Paschkes–who has logged stints at companies ranging from Vevo to Yahoo–is to help people avoid having to comb through Web searches overwhelmed with listings of bars, restaurants or travel destinations that have been reviewed online almost entirely by strangers.
It was that social curation factor that stood out to Ms. Millard. “Our digital lives can be messy,” she said. “I’m constantly saying, ‘where did I put that link?’ This helps you organize things in one place, and the ideas are from people I know. So many other reviews don’t mean anything to me.”
Didit will explore several potential revenue sources, said Mr. Paschkes. Advertisers will be able to post sponsored content in the app. The company also may sell data it collects to marketers at some point.
Mr. Paschkes said he is exploring partnerships with companies that help people book restaurant reservations and travel. He’s also talking to several publishers, including Time. Inc., about distributing content via Didit. A Time Inc. representative confirmed the two companies are in discussions but no deal is imminent.
For example, a travel magazine might post lists of places to visit during the summer, and if people book a trip via the app, Didit will share revenue with that partner.
Conde Nast hasn’t signed on yet, but Mr. Santarpia said that what he liked about Didit’s premise is that it is not focused on the day-to-day, like many mobile listings apps. “This is not about where to meet for coffee,” he said. “It’s aspirational. They want you to dream big.”