Looking for a hotel room with a refrigerator for your child with food allergies, or want a resort with a kids pool for your not-yet-swimming toddler? MiniTime, a travel search engine and recommendation site launching Tuesday, is courting families booking vacations. With funding from former interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn, MiniTime displays specific family-friendly amenities for each location, produces vacation choices specific to the age of the user’s children, and uses Facebook Connect to include friend recommendations and reviews on top of traditional booking features.
“We’re all family travelers ourselves,” said MiniTime CEO John Smelzer in an interview. “Most travel sites have a generic family filter, but most sites don’t take into account the ages of your kids. You get activities and things that are not appropriate for your kids. You can get literally hundreds of reviews from families not like yours, or any manner of comment on hotels or activities.”
The MiniTime founders have interesting tech backgrounds. Co-founders Nimrod Lev and Oleg Sandler ALSO founded kSolo, which was acquired by Fox Interactive Media, and Lev sold Jcupid.com to Spark Networks, the owner of JDate. Smelzer also co-founded 5to1, an ad network acquired by Yahoo in 2011.
MiniTime, which has been in private beta for several months and has acquired “a couple thousand users,” according to Smelzer, allows parents and potential travelers to search options like hotels and attractions specific to kid ages within a variety of popular vacation spots, from Disneyland to Niagara Falls to San Francisco. But Smelzer said they’re not just aiming to be a Kayak for family travel.
“I think we could really go broad in a family lifestyle brand,” Smelzer said. The company has raised $1 million in seed financing so far from investors including Levinsohn.