Ruzwana Bashir is not a household name in Silicon Valley. Yet. But some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley think she is on to something.
Today, the rest of us get a chance to see if they’re right. On Thursday, Bashir officially launched Peek, which aims to be a “one-stop shop for travelers to discover and book amazing things to do.”
Basically, if you’re going to visit, say, San Francisco, the site wants to tell you the things you want to do, and then connect you with the company or organization that can help you book or plan that event. For now, the site will focus on California and Hawaii, with plans to eventually expand elsewhere.
Bashir explained that currently, travelers spend an average of seven hours planning a trip, visit about 22 Websites, not to mention flipping through guidebooks and magazines. Then, even if, you find what you want, about 20 percent of the activity providers don’t have a Website, and only about 40 percent let you book online.
So, that means more phone calls, etc., etc., etc., to get everything lined up. Maybe.
“The whole process is long and cumbersome right now,” Bashir said. “There’s no place you can go and work out want to do then book it.”
Enter Peek. Based in San Francisco, the company now has 10 employees. The company faces stiff competition from Viator and Expedia. But Bashir said Peek will try to set itself by presenting a more curated list of suggest activities, along with a carefully vetted set of vendors and activity providers. If you book through Peek, the company takes a commission, she said.
The concept is certainly appealing, as anyone who has booked a trip would know. But just as interesting in this case, is Bashir and the people who are backing the company.
Earlier this year, Peek raised $1.4 million from Jack Dorsey, Eric Schmidt (Innovation Endeavors), SV Angel (Ron Conway) and Khosla Ventures. Bashir formerly worked at Blackstone and Goldman Sachs before getting an MBA from Harvard. She began advising startups, including Gilt Groupe and then Art.sy.
It was at the latter where she began to hatch the idea for Peek. And also where she crossed paths with several of the folks who would later invest in Peek. Bashir recruited her co-founder, Oskar Bruening, a veteran of VMware, to handle the technical side.
If you check it out, let us know what you think. Will Peek change the way you plan and book your trips?