Early Facebook employee and longtime travel aficionado Julia Lam began studying consumer travel habits over a year ago to see how people planned their vacations and business trips.
What she found was that people were often using a mess of Chrome tabs and text files. So she started Bucket with former Facebook engineer John Sichi to create an automated text parser that will pull out recommendations from articles and from friends’ suggestions through e-mail and on Facebook and then turn it all into a board of things to do.
It kind of looks like a Pinterest board, except with locations and experiences to try out.
Now the company, which has $1 million in backing from a long list of early Facebook leaders like Dave Morin’s Slow Ventures, is expanding its recommendations nationwide, from just the San Francisco Bay Area.
They’re also adding a few requested features like the ability to follow any traveler and their recommendations. They are also opening up Nearby Buckets, to surface travel recommendations about the same locales from other people.
“We’ve built our product to be broad enough not only for long-term trips like your road trip across the United States, but also for weekend collections or in-city collections,” she said. “For myself, I have a bucket of when I go to Napa that organizes the different wineries so I can make sure I’m hitting them in order.”
To acquire customers, they’ve started some early partnerships with Airbnb for travelers, and with Bay Area tech companies like Facebook, to on-board new employees and give them recommendations about where to go or live.