We have all experienced the frustration before; you are on your laptop doing some research on the destination you are about to travel to, thirty tabs open, trying to figure out how you’re going to spend the valuable vacation time and money you have worked hard for. After visiting too many sites and reading too many opinions you give up and just wing it.

The planning portion of a trip is painful because destinations, and the attractions that make them interesting, struggle to tell their stories in an authentic manner that differentiates them and compels travellers to book. So when Dan and Abhi (the co-founders of CrowdRiff) shared their vision for vastly improving the way travel brands tell their stories, we were hungry to lead the $9M Series A financing announced today to help them realize that vision.

Travel bookings hit close to 1.6 trillion USD in 2017 and is a massive and growing category. At the same time, social platforms like Instagram and Facebook have given everyday photographers a new medium to share their experiences with the world, and as a result, high quality location specific content is being created at a rate unseen before.

CrowdRiff’s AI powered visual marketing content platform gives brands the ability to intelligently deliver high-performing visual content at the right time and place to influence travel decisions, and the results have been phenomenal.

Since starting to commercialize the platform just over 3 years ago, over 500 million unique pieces of travel content have been processed through the CrowdRiff network. Hand curated travel content on the part of its end users has trained its AI platform to understand the characteristics of what constitutes a high performing travel image or video. The platform now helps customers like Lonely Planet, Princess Cruises, Pebble Beach and Destination British Columbia create higher performing and more compelling travel stories that are shared across all marketing channels.

We were also impressed with the culture that Dan and Abhi have built at CrowdRiff. Everyone we have interacted with is incredibly ambitious, customer obsessed, loves travel and takes immense pride in building the next great tech company here in Toronto. They have also maintained gender parity while scaling the business to over 70 employees on just $2M raised, not because they should, but because it is a competitive advantage.

CrowdRiff was already on its way to becoming massive company when we met, and we are excited to help accelerate that process by bringing our expertise in enterprise go-to-market and scaling and working with Gibraltar, High Alpha and BDC.