Skift Take

Gogobot is a small factor today in competing with category leader TripAdvisor on the reviews' front, but the HomeAway partnership will enable it to increase its profile on the back of HomeAway's global footprint.

Discovery website and app Gogobot today announced it raised $20 million in a series C round led by HomeAway and backed by existing investors Battery Ventures and Redpoint Ventures.

In addition to the investment, HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples is joining Gogobot’s board of directors and the vacation rental service is integrating Gogobot content into its mobile apps and website. The two companies will also work together cross-selling advertising. According to CEO and founder Travis Katz, HomeAway does not have a controlling stake in Gogobot and no members of his team will be joining HomeAway’s Austin headquarters.

Gogobot launched in 2010 backed by a Series A round of $4 million, which was followed in November 2011 with a $15 million Series B round. Battery Ventures has invested in all three rounds.

According to a statement, “Gogobot will use the additional funds to continue investing in growth in its core business, as well as expand internationally.”

Speaking to Skift, Carl Shepherd, the co-founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer of HomeAway, said, “We believe in and support Gogobot’s vision for helping travelers get personalized recommendations. They are a young and growing company, building a strong mobile platform – our investment accelerates that growth and strategically aligns the companies to change the industry together.”

With HomeAway’s backing and distribution, Gogobot will have access to a wider audience than it does in its current form. In October, Gogobot received nearly 600,000 visits on desktop, and its mobile app ranked 40th in Apple’s iOS app store, according to Similarweb.

According to Katz, Gogobot has seen its greatest growth recently on the local discovery and mobile fronts, where it competes with Foursquare and Yelp among others. The focus on local discovery as opposed to trip planning has increased user frequency to the point where nearly 90% of searches are in-market as opposed to before a visit. It recently expanded an events calendar Gogo This Week to a total of eleven cities.

Unlike its local competitors, Katz says Gogobot will remain focused on travel and leisure activities and points of interest. “We never will cover tree trimmers or hair dressers,” he told Skift.

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Tags: gogobot, guides, homeaway

Photo credit: As Gogobot grows, it's changed its focus from the desktop to the mobile experience. Gogobot

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