Austin’s Localeur Gets Funds, Imprimatur from Ex-Facebook Execs 

Localeur, an Austin, TX, travel website that relies on local residents, or “localeurs,” for tips has brought some heavy social media hitters into its stable of investors: former executives from Facebook.

The investor group—which includes Mike Murphy, the social media giant’s former chief revenue officer, and Tom Arrix and Blake Chandlee, who led North American and European sales operations for Facebook, respectively—bring with them about $500,000 in funding. The new funds will be used to expand Localeur’s full-time team beyond its two co-founders, and hire its first full-time engineers to enhance its app.

While money is the lifeblood of any startup, Joah Spearman, Localeur’s founder and CEO, says the expertise found among this group in running successful consumer startups is key to helping Localeur grow. “We have a great group of angel investors,” he says, “but ultimately nailing product-market fit and developing a monetization strategy for a pure consumer/social startup like Localeur requires advisers who’ve seen first-hand how these companies are built and Blake, Tom, and Mike’s experience at Facebook, Yahoo, and other startups is something I’m truly excited about.”

Founded two years ago at the South By Southwest Interactive festival, Localeur is a younger, hipper version of typical travel websites. Its featured recommendations for shopping, drinking, and eating come under themes like: “How to Get the Beyoncé Experience Out of Houston” and “Denver’s Top Five Recreational Dispensaries.” So far, the startup is in about 12 cities nationwide and has about 300,000 users.

Spearman says a key metric of the site’s success is that Localeur’s average user is about 10 years younger than that for Yelp, a large, established competitor in the online recommendations space.

Heather Brunner, CEO of Austin-based WP Engine and the former COO of Bazaar voice, is an early investor in the startup. “(The founders) have accomplished quite a bit in building Localeur the last two years without a single full-time employee,” she says. “Bringing on advisers who were instrumental in Facebook’s remarkable growth will certainly propel Localeur further to truly become the new standard for local recommendations.”

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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