Sydney startup FreeGuides has closed its seed funding round, having secured $360,000 in funding from the likes of Scalare Partners, Little Fish VC, and Malik Irfan at a $2.5M valuation.
The first-of-its-kind travel app allows anyone to monetise their local knowledge by creating self-guided travel guides which app users can follow in their own time to explore Australia and New Zealand.
Through the free app, which runs on both IOS and Android, users can indulge in over 160+ self-guided tours curated to their own interests – whether that’s nature, food & drink, photography, culture, architecture, and more.
FreeGuides was inspired by the founder, Daniel Wasilewsky’s own pre-COVID travels. He always sought out free walking tours and wanted to tap into local knowledge wherever possible to find the hidden gems travel guides often left out.
For those interested in showing off their neighbourhood, FreeGuides empowers locals to capitalise on an underutilised resource – their unique knowledge of their city. It enables anyone to create, run and manage their own experiences while making money.
With over 160 experiences created, launches in Australia and New Zealand, and the implementation of sponsored experiences, FreeGuides is poised to continue its upwards trajectory amidst the pandemic. The team are looking to use their seed funding to continue bettering the app experience ahead of a global launch slated for 2022.
FreeGuides Founder, Daniel Wasilewsky said, “Amidst the uncertainty of the past year, we have been overwhelmed by the support of our investors who truly believe in the future of travel. The app now has over 850 active users and 80+ guides creating dynamic local experiences. We can’t wait to expand on our success in Australia and New Zealand by taking the app global in 2022.”
Giles Bourne, Co-Founder and Director at Scalare Partners has been extremely impressed with the work of FreeGuides since their initial investment. “Scalare has supported FreeGuides in its funding round as we strongly believe in the founder’s vision and passion to build FreeGuides into a global business. With the inevitable resumption of tourism, the market opportunity is significant.”
Gene Barker, the GP at Little Fish VC said, “We felt very strongly that Daniel and his team are building an essential tool for a generation of post-COVID travellers. We see the potential energy being stored in travel demand as a multi-decade trend. No brainer.”
The FreeGuides team has currently closed four partnerships with hostels and activity suppliers and is looking to substantially grow the number of active partnerships in the next year. Furthermore, they’re also looking to launch the Webapp, in order to provide their services to a broader spectrum of potential explorers.
“FreeGuides presents a great investment proposition as a high growth venture with passionate founders and a globally scalable opportunity. A great proposition for millennials with a passion for amazing content curation of experiences with diverse revenue streams, a game-changer for future travel experiences. Has good traction with great market validation for growth into Asian markets including the Indian subcontinent, East-Asia and the Middle-East for accelerated adoption in a post-Covid landscape,” said Malik Irfan, CEO, inQ Innovation Global & Chair of Startups & Innovation, Australia India Business Council (AIBC).