Ajungo, launched in Philadelphia last fall, has just implemented a complete revamp of its website. The idea behindAjungo is to go one better than sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, offering travel tips and information from people to whom you are already connected on social media networks.
Steve Shea, co-founder of Ajungo along with Mike Wham (yes, it is his real name), says the redesign cuts down on home page copy and gives users a faster track to what they need. Behind the scenes, says Shea, is a sophisticated aggregation and data mining process that figures out from where users have been and are going from Facebook posts and Foursquare check-ins, to name a few. "We were trying to solve the user experience so that the traveler could come to one centralized place and plan out a trip from a social perspective."
On the new version, users can sort based on friends' checkins, and search for specifics like which hotel was favored by LinkedIn colleagues. "My mom is not going to stay in a scary hotel," says Shea. "If she likes it, I'll like it."
Ajungo now has seven full time employees, up from two in October, but is not yet in a brick and mortar location. Shea and Wham raised an initial seed round from family and friends, and are now in the midst of raising $1.5 million series A funding.
"Our current budget is tapped," says Shea. Until more money comes in, he is making a deal with new employees. "We've worked out contracts where they'll come on now, and we pay them small monthly retainers. Once we raise funding, they will get paid first."
Shea and Wham just brought on board a former executive from British Airways Worldwide who is helping open a lot of travel doors. "The way we see Ajungo in its ultimate iteration," says Wham, "is as a place to research and book everything you need for your trip."
Source: Steve Shea, Ajungo
Writer: Sue Spolan
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