User-generated local review site Qype has raised 3.5 million euros from Vodafone Ventures and a further 3.0 million euros from its existing three investors, Advent Venture Partners, Partech International and Wellington Partners.
Launched in March 2006, Qype’s communication platform is Europe’s largest site for user-generated reviews and recommendations of places, events and experiences.
Qype covers more than 158,000 European towns and cities and has 17 million unique visitors per month.
The additional funds will be used to develop Qype’s mobile business. Its mobile application Qype Mobile was first launched for the iPhone in January 2009, followed by versions for Android and most recently Blackberry, allowing users to access and write Qype reviews on the go and find out the best things that are going on around them.
The new agreement signifies that a co-branded version of the Qype product will be pre-loaded on supported Vodafone devices, including Blackberry and Android. This is a significant deal covering Vodafone’s core European markets including the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands and Ireland.
Since 2009, almost a million people have downloaded the Qype app in different European countries. Its benefits include the support of multiple languages to allow users to tap into local knowledge when abroad, and an intuitive five star rating system showcasing the best places nearby in just one click.
Ian Brotherston, CEO of Qype, says: “Qype offers reviews of 600,000 businesses in Europe and has 17 million unique visitors per month, with 1 million Qype users on mobile devices. We want to encourage our customers, whether users or businesses, to engage with the site on a regular basis and keep it growing. The future is in mobile, and we are dedicated to continuously improving the mobile experience for our customers – building on and offering new features to users.
“A core part of Qype’s offering is its location-based services, as users can benefit from indispensable advice and insider knowledge on a local business or service, making the reviews accurate and compelling.”
Peter Barry, Head of Venture Group, Vodafone Ventures, says: “Qype has emerged as the leading local reviews site on the web in Europe. In the recent past we have seen Qype rapidly scale its presence both on the mobile and beyond Europe. We are delighted to back a key player in the location-based services and user reviews arena and we are looking forward to helping Qype accelerate its mobile business further and ultimately adding value to our customer.”
Erin Ericson, Content Manager, Developer Marketing for Vodafone, says: “We want to give our customers a quick and simple way to check out places and activities they’re interested in. Qype is a fun, useful application, which aligns with Vodafone’s goal of delivering data services that make life easier. What once were difficult tasks such as finding a great lunch spot when on the go or a local taxi company while away from home, can now be done in seconds from your mobile phone.”