Seattle startup Trover has scored $2.5 million in fresh funding, money that the five-person company will use to build out its network of amateur travel photographers. Concur led the round through its newly-formed Perfect Trip Fund, continuing a streak of investments in up-and-coming travel-oriented startups. Zillow co-founder Rich Barton and other angel investors also participated.
Trover is building a community of travel photographers, people who like to share images of the places they visit. The company’s mobile app is free to install, and the company has yet to turn on the monetization efforts. About 120,000 people visit the company’s Web site and mobile apps each month, with the company eyeing amateur photographers as its core base.
But CEO Jason Karas has bigger plans in store for Trover now that the funding has closed. In addition to adding staff, the company also plans to release an Android app by the end of the year.
“What our focus is on right now — and what it will be for some time — is really Trover as the publishing hub for travel photos,” said Karas. Photographers are increasingly using the service to connect with other like-minded shooters who may have similar interests or travel plans. Karas also said his goal is to boost the content in Trover by “10X.”
Of course, amateur photographers are already using services such as Instagram and Flickr. But Karas said he thinks some of those services don’t hit the mark for travel photography, the niche it is looking to master. He said the competing apps are good, but not great when it comes to serving travel photographers, adding that they don’t do as good of a job of creating photo stories or handling geotagging.
“It is a very special community that we’ve nurtured here, and it is people who are focused on a particular topic,” he said. “In Flickr and Instagram you may find pockets of these travel photography junkies, but we really nurture this pretty unique community that’s really interested in providing feedback.”
Trover initially started as TravelPost, with backing from Ignition, Benchmark and others. It is now focusing entirely on travel photography.
As a result of the funding, Concur co-founder Michael Hilton will join the board of Trover.
In addition to the investment in Trover, Concur earlier this week announced funding for Yapta, a Seattle startup that specializes in tracking airfare. It also this week announced an investment in StayNTouch, a developer of cloud-based solutions for hotels.