Lightbank Backs gtrot

Gtrot, the site that intertwines social networking with travel sharing businesses, has locked down growth capital in the form of a Series A VC round from Lightbank. The company launched in late 2009, and is led by Brittany Laughlin and Zachary Smith. Specifics on the deal were not released.


CHICAGO–, the site that uses your social network to simplify travel sharing and planning, officially launched today following a Series A venture capital funding round from Lightbank. Only gtrot, winner of the Harvard Innovation Challenge, makes it easy to share travel plans, connect with friends and deals in your destination, and collect advice from people you trust.

The site uses permission-based Facebook data – including where your friends live, where they went to school, and places they’ve “checked in” – to show friends who live in your destination or have been there before. Users can notify friends about a trip or ask for advice via Facebook within one-click. Responses are automatically pulled back into your trip on

Users can add past and upcoming trips and instantly connect with relevant friends. The site alerts members when friends share overlapping trips or travel to their home city. gtrot also searches hundreds of sites like Groupon for the best daily deals available in top destinations to help travelers save money and discover new experiences.

The site includes several new features including gtrot Deals. Through recent partnership with Local Offer Network, this feature enables gtrot users, who have shared their upcoming travel plans, to receive curated local deals for the cities they will visit during their trip. Deals are selected from thousands aggregated each day by Local Offer Network’s DealWire™ platform.

Other features include:
• Share travel plans with Facebook friends and Twitter followers
• Easily manage itineraries
• Get advice from people you trust – your friends
• Connect with Facebook friends who live at or are visiting your destination when you are
• Get alerts when friends plan a trip to your city
• Post photos and reviews of past trips and share them with your Facebook friends

“There are several travel sites that offer recommendations, reviews, and travel Q&A,” said Zachary Smith, Co-Founder and CEO. “But we believe the best way to get ready for a trip is just to share your plans with friends. You’ll get the advice you need, without the noise, and find friends to meet up with in your destination. It’s such an easy and rewarding way to travel.”

Since launching in beta at Harvard in late 2009, gtrot has attracted nearly 6,000 users and a venture round from Lightbank, the investment fund created by Groupon co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell.
“Online travel planning is still really messy, it’s very difficult to find recommendations tailored to your interests,” said Brittany Laughlin, Co-Founder of gtrot. “Whether you’re visiting a friend in a familiar city or flying halfway around the world, we want to connect you with personalized information and deals that will make your trip awesome.”

About gtrot

Gtrot uses your social network to make travel sharing and planning incredibly simple. Since launching in beta in late 2009, the site has attracted nearly 6,000 users sharing trips to 40,000 destinations. gtrot is backed by Lightbank, the investment fund created by Groupon founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell. The site was created by Zachary Smith and Robert Corty, whose concept for social travel won the prestigious Harvard College Innovation Challenge for undergraduates, and travel addict Brittany Laughlin. For more information, visit

About Lightbank

Lightbank is an investment fund focused on early-stage technology companies. Founded by Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, who started Groupon, MediaBank, InnerWorkings (NASDAQ:INWK) and Echo Global Logistics (NASDAQ:ECHO), Lightbank invests money, time and expertise to help innovative businesses achieve dynamic growth. For more information, visit