Congratulations to the team at Dopplr, the service that lets you share your travel plans with your friends, for raising a new round of financing from a group of well known angel investors and individuals (I’m an early investor in the company). The new investors include Esther Dyson, Tyler Brûlé, Thomas Glocer, Yat Siu, Aditya dev Sood, Lars Hinrichs, Joshua Schachter, Brian Behlendorf, Ami Hasan, Daniel Sachs, Joshua Cooper Ramo, Kim Weckström, and Azeem Azhar.

This is not an easy time to raise financing given the terrible shape of the financial markets, the weak economy, the present IPO drought and reduced M&A activity. Even considering current investments have at least a 5 year horizon these factors do have an influence on present investment decisions in venture capital, so I’m very glad Dopplr managed to put together a great group of investors to finance its international expansion.

Last night I attended the “Where Next?” party organized by Dopplr and there I spoke about “Smarter travel” together with Tyler Brule of Monocle, the magazine for global travellers covering international affairs, business, culture and design, a great partner for Dopplr.

Here is a video of me talking about Dopplr with Ville Vesterinen of ArticStartup.

This is the press release for Dopplr’s new round:

Dopplr Announces Financing Round for Global Expansion
International group led by Esther Dyson, Tyler Brûlé and Thomas Glocer invests in online service for sharing travel intentions

London and Helsinki, 16 September 2008 – Dopplr, the online service for smarter travel, has announced a second financing round from a group of prominent international investors — all users of the service. The funding will be used to expand the service globally from its strong base in Europe.

The new investors include Esther Dyson, Tyler Brûlé, Thomas Glocer, Yat Siu, Aditya dev Sood, Lars Hinrichs, Joshua Schachter, Brian Behlendorf, Ami Hasan, Daniel Sachs, Joshua Cooper Ramo, Kim Weckström, and Azeem Azhar. Saul Klein, who invested in this round, also invested in the previous round together with Martin Varsavsky, Reid Hoffman and Joichi Ito.

Lead investor Esther Dyson, a frequent traveller across four continents, recently discussed Dopplr and new Web business models in The Wall Street Journal:  “I’m an individual with specific travel plans, which I intentionally make visible to my preferred vendors. […] Value is being created in users’ own walled gardens, which they will cultivate for themselves in real estate owned by the social networks. The new value creators are companies – like Facebook and Dopplr—that know how to build and support online communities.”

Intention sharing and brands

“Dopplr is leading the way in intention sharing services online. It is valuable to know where your trusted friends and colleagues will be, and where you could meet them next,” said Lisa Sounio, CEO of Dopplr. “Partner brands on Dopplr will also give you relevant information and offers tailored to you. For example, when you tell Dopplr your plans to go to Hong Kong, you might get the latest intelligence from Monocle and offers from boutique hotels picked by Mr and Mrs Smith.”

Dopplr users, the world’s most frequent travellers from over 190 countries, made on average more than 10 trips in the last year. This fall they will visit 5431 cities with the top destinations being London, New York, San Francisco, Paris and Berlin. Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Dubai are all in the top 50 Dopplr destination cities. When travellers tell Dopplr about their travel plans, two-thirds of them have not yet booked a hotel and half have not yet made any travel arrangements. (Source: Dopplr Fall Travel Outlook 2008)

“We see the opportunity to go well beyond building a simple web-based community with Dopplr,” says Monocle Editor-In-Chief and Dopplr Investor Tyler Brûlé. “There’s considerable scope to use Dopplr to improve the travel experience for all by engaging in discussions with not only our members but also travel brands and government agencies seeking informed opinions.”

Now to end the post here are the things that I would like Dopplr to be able to do in the future. I want Dopplr to tell me which restaurants, hotels and airlines my friends are flying. I want to hit the name of a city and get a list of the hotels and restaurants that my friends recommend. I want it to become an instant recommendation engine from my most trusted sources, my friends. As a business however I think Dopplr has to evolve to be the travel agency of the digeratti.

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