Two Austin entrepreneurs, Chase White and Joah Spearman, are launching a new Internet travel site focused on introducing visitors to the Austin that locals love.
Localeur — as in, connoisseur of local — starts Friday in Austin with plans to expand eventually to other cities. The company recruited 15 part-timers to highlight spots that locals favor but other travel sites might overlook.
Among its early backers are successful Austin entrepreneurs Chris Shonk of Liahona Ventures; Joe Ross, president of CSID, an identity security firm; Ken Cho, co-founder of Spredfast, a social media company; and Clayton Christopher, founder of Sweet Leaf Tea and Deep Eddy Vodka.
“Whenever I travel, I have a better time when there’s somebody to give me the inside scoop,” Christopher said. “It’s that inside knowledge of enjoying a community like a local.”
Shonk said he’s a big fan of travel industry but he finds most travel sites lacking.
“No one is out there doing really well in a mobile way,” Shonk said. “It’s all old school.”
Localeur will provide recommendations, reviews and maps to dining, neighborhoods, entertainment, nightlife and activities. Chains need not apply.
“If it’s not local,” Spearman said, “it’s not on Localeur.”
He said the startup recruited the 15 part-timers by assessing their social media profiles, blogs and knowledge of Austin. The company is paying the part-timers during the early stages, but it eventually hopes to share advertising revenue with is staffers as the site grows.
White, the startup’s president, and Spearman, its CEO, met while working at Austin software maker Bazaarvoice. White has a background in brand management, web and product design and business development. He taught courses on social media and web entrepreneurship for Duke University.
Spearman is co‐founder of AvecMode, a live-event marketing startup that created the Style X fashion event for South by Southwest and counts the ESPN X Games as a client.