June 3, 2009
Nextstop.com, Joining Ruba.com, Gekko, and Other Travel Guide Websites in a Competitive Market. Who Will Emerge As the Leader?
Yet another travel club is out on a rapidly growing market for travel planning websites, providing more competition for the online travel guide clubs, such as pioneers Ruba.com and Gekko. The new kid on the block is Nextstop.com, which is an online travel guide club that allows users to sign in for free and provides services similar to services that are offered by Ruba.com and Gekko. The service that Nextstop.com offers is a social networking service for travelers and allows users to share tips and show photos of noteworthy places to travel to. Like Ruba.com, Nextstop.com allows users to share information about hotels, restaurants, and attractions at a given location. One drawback that Ruba.com has which Nextstop.com can capitalize on, is the appearance of maps. Nextstop.com does have good maps which are even featured on its homepage. When you register onto Nextstop.com, you can also create your own travel guide, like with Ruba.com and you can type one of your favorite attractions and the city and country this attraction is located in. For example, you want to recommend visiting Tbilisi Georgia and certain attractions in that city, such as the Nariqala Fortress. All you need to do is click your mouse onto the “add a recommendation” button at the top of the website. The service will then prompt you to type in the name of the attraction and then in the next field, the city and the country. The service will then prompt you to either choose a picture or upload your own picture of the attraction. In the case of the Nariqala Fortress, there are photos already available. If this is the case with your favorite place, simply click on the photo that suites your favorite place and it will appear in the feature box. One feature that Nextstop does have that can make it come ahead of Ruba.com is that it has the option to have the attraction shown on a map, if available, or on Google World Satellite which comes directly from Google Earth. As a user of Nextstop.com, you can even add a comment on other featured places on the website and Nextstop.com can also be connected to Facebook.
Who was behind the building of Nextstop.com? The company has three cofounders, who are Carl Sjogreen, Adrian Graham, and Charles Lin.
Mr. Sjogreen was the Group Product Manager at Google before he founded Nextstop.com. At Google he launched the Google Calendar and worked hard to get it to be one of the top online calendars out there. Furthermore, his work at Google took him to Sydney, Australia, where he lived for 18 months while working on Google Maps. Before joining Google, Mr. Sjogreen worked at BEA Systems, where held the position of Director of Product Management. Mr. Sjogreen also worked at eXcelon as Product Manager. Mr. Sjogreen graduated from Harvard University with a BA in Computer Science.
Mr. Graham is the second cofounder of the company and also worked at Google as a product manager and helped develop and launch Google Groups, Picasa, and Picasa Web Albums. These products are currently used by millions of people worldwide. Mr. Graham graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Fine Arts and an MS in Computer Sciences, along with a Distinction in Research as well.
The third cofounder of Nextstop.com is Charles Lin, who worked as a financial manager and director of a publicly listed company in Taiwan. While studying at Stanford University, Mr. Lin met Adrian Graham where they were already contemplating several ideas for new startup companies. Mr. Lin graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Industrial Engineering as well as a Master’s in Industrial Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. Mr. Lin also has a CFA and sits on the Taiwanese CFA Association Board.
Other people on Nextstop.com’s management team include Brian Westphal and Kevin Systrom.
Brian Westphal helped develop the facial recognition software for Google’s Picasa before coming to Nextstop.com and Mr. Westphal was also an architect at Flagworm and is also the cofounder of iPhone application developer, Cliqueclique. Brian graduated from the University of Nevada with a BS and an MS in Computer Science.
Kevin Systrom began his technology career at Google, where he was first in product marketing and was on the team that launched Gmail and other Google products. Later he went up and worked in the corporate development group and worked on acquisitions for Google. Mr. Systrom graduated from Stanford University with degrees in Management Sciences and Engineering. Mr. Systrom loves to cook and go on adventures where he enjoys taking pictures.
Nextstop.com was founded in May of 2008 and is based in San Francisco, California. The company does not disclose its investors or what investments it has received at this time.
For more information about Nextstop.com, click here.