Summary:

The ‘Airbnb for activities’ is now open to anyone who wants to offer tours and experiences anywhere in the world, and has also just rolled out more social functionality

Gidsy Columbus

The experience marketplace Gidsy has opened up to anyone who wants to organize and sell an activity, anywhere in the world.

Until now, the Berlin-based service – kind of an Airbnb for activities – has rolled out on a city-by-city basis, officially taking in 13 popular destinations such as LA, Istanbul and London.

But now, with a major platform revamp dubbed ‘Columbus’, that restriction has been lifted. And at the same time, Gidsy has launched those new features it was telling us about a couple of months ago.

Here we’re talking search functionality – by location, date and price – as well as social features such as the ability to see who’s signed up to a future activity, and a messaging platform for organizers and participants.

Organizers also get a new dashboard and toolset in the Columbus release, which will be handy as the revamp is largely intended to help them set up their own business within the platform. The release allows people to request events from organizers, and makes it possible for anyone to book or be paid in their local currency.

“Whether you live in a booming metropolis or a charming village, it’s now possible for anyone to host and book Gidsy activities, anywhere in the world,” the Columbus launch page promises.

Gidsy is one of the most prominent startups in Berlin’s trendy scene, partly through the weight of its backing – investors include Index Ventures and Sunstone Capital, as well as high-profile names such as Etsy’s Matt Stinchcomb and Hollywood superstar Ashton Kutcher.

It’s already soft-rolled out to 60 countries through what it calls an ‘ambassador’ program, which was Gidsy’s way of harnessing the enthusiasm of those who wanted to set up in their own city. But demand appears to have been too great for that approach.

“As there are so many people involved now in all parts of the world, we wanted to speed things up a bit,” CEO Edial Dekker told me.

However, the company is still trying to make sure everything stays safe and secure: Dekker stressed that each activity on Gidsy would still have to be approved by the central team in Berlin.

“We’re also highlighting people who are connected with Facebook, and will also be verifying telephone numbers soon,” he added. “Trust is one of the most important things for Gidsy, even if the events are public for everyone.”

Gidsy isn’t without competition, with services like GuideHop and Vayable offering something similar. Dekker said the contest was likely to come down to execution. “With this release, we definitely think we’re making a big leap,” he said.

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