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OTP already enjoys a following, which is critical to its growth as those followers become early users that will help build the brand beyond a blog to a multi-city guide and app.

Off Track Planet started as a travel blog in 2009, published the brand’s first book in 2012, and just closed a $500,000 seed round to build its first travel guide app.

Half of the investment comes from public-private seed-stage investor CincyTech and $250,000 comes from the Brandery accelerator and individual angel investors.

The app plans to build travel guides based on experiences shared by its users. Or as co-founder Freddie Pikovsky puts it in a statement, “In order to build the most beautiful and intelligent travel guide, we needed to make it insanely easy for people to share their experiences.”

Users connect their social networks to the app, which organizes the updates that they’re already posting into a single timeline. OTP then selects and combines the content uploaded by users and adds in-house editorial touches to produce branded guides for consumers.

The app is currently in private beta and building an early group of users from travel experts, bloggers, and photographers. OTP aims to launch a public beta version of the new app in Spring 2014 as well as three city guides for Buenos Aires, Brooklyn, and Berlin.

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Tags: funding, travel apps, wehostels

Photo credit: A screenshot of Off Track Planet's new app. Off Track Planet

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