With a successful launch in Austin, TX since its debut at South by Southwest Festival, Localeur today announced plans to expand into Houston on May 31. The startup is timing its launch in
advance of the buzz worthy indie music festival, Free Press Summer Fest, which takes place June 1-2 in Houston.
Localeur will host a Houston launch party with music by globe-trotting DJ and Localeur investor Mick on Tuesday, May 28 at Fitzgerald's, one of the premier live music venues in Houston. Admission is free with an RSVP at www.localeur.com/RSVP.
Localeur aims to help Millennial travelers experience local by providing credible local recommendations from a curated community of local insiders. Localeur is co-founded by Joah Spearman and Chase White, who met during their time with Austin-based ratings-and-review software company Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV). Localeur was named a "favorite mobile app of SXSW" by Digital Trends, and has investors ranging from popular New York DJ Mick (formerly "Mick Boogie") to Austin-based Sweet Leaf Tea founder Clayton Christopher.
"Many of my friends are from Houston and rave about their city, and for good reason," said Spearman, CEO. "My friends tell me what bars, boutiques and restaurants to check out, and these are the types of people who will be Localeurs. Houston is important for us in advance of other major metros and launching our iPhone app this year."
Thus far, Localeur has raised $250,000 in angel funding and believes its diverse mix of well-connected investors will help it expand into new markets in 2013 following the close of a Seed round, which they are currently raising with angels and venture capitalists on the East Coast.
"The response has been tremendous thus far, not only in Austin, but also with people from around the world who've taken to our concept since SXSW," said White, president. "Expanding to Houston makes perfect sense for us because of its ability to bring even more value to people already visiting Texas, and also because the early user behavior and traffic we've seen from Houstonians has been excellent."
Since its Austin launch, the company has secured additional angel investors including hedge fund manager Travis Devitt, a member of the influential Central Texas Angel Network, and Southern California-based investors in Michael Francis, director of strategy for biotech giant Amgen, and his wife, Janel Jefferson, an accomplished artist, and former Goldman Sachs VP and wealth management expert Adam Bain and his wife, April, an LA public school teacher.
"My experience looking at major companies like TripAdvisor made me extremely confident in Localeur's founders and business model," said Devitt, who invested $100,000 in the startup.
"Localeur's focus on curation and design is relevant, scalable and unique," said Chris Shonk, the startup's first investor and advisor. "Their industry has produced recent IPOs (TripAdvisor and Yelp), and Localeur stands squarely where the audience and industry meet. They are set apart from substitutes or anything currently available in the space."
Before Localeur, Spearman co-founded an experiential marketing agency which counted SXSW and ESPN X Games as clients, and led Bazaarvoice's market strategy in travel. The Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce named him Emerging Business Leader of the Year this year. White previously coordinated software design for Bazaarvoice retail and brand clients for online user-generated content programs, and earlier taught social media and entrepreneurship to students at Duke University as part of its Talent Identification Program.
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