Oyster.com — a three-month-old hotel reviews site — has raised $4 million in funding from Bain Capital. Oyster has a staff of 20 reporters who write lengthy reviews and also take photographs of hotels (See this review of Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, for instance). The company says that it currently has “hundreds of original reviews,” along with more than 75,000 photos, on its site. It has coverage of six destinations, including New York and Las Vegas.
The startup will use the new cash to expand its coverage to include several West coast cities. CEO Elie Seidman tells us the company expects to have 45 reporters on staff by year-end, which he says will make it the largest travel media outlet in the U.S. The site is currently ad-free, but Seidman says that will eventually change.
Seidman was the former CEO of prepaid phone card company Epana, which he started along with fellow Oyster co-founder Arial Charytan. A third co-founder, Eytan Seidman, was a former principal program manager on Microsoft’s search team.
With the new funding, Oyster will have raised a total of $10.4 million, including $6.4 million it raised in March 2008.