Los Angeles Business Journal

Crash Launches Tourist Attraction App

By Natalie Jarvey Monday, February 11, 2013
Photo Courtesy of Crash.

Photo Courtesy of Crash.

In today’s social media-obsessed world, it seems like no excursion is complete without snapping a few photos and sharing them with friends. So a company has just launched out of the Pasadena incubator Idealab to help tourists find the most photo-worthy attractions.

The startup is Crash, and it has developed an app that uses location-based technology to tell people where to find a city’s most interesting attractions. For example, the app directs people to nearby landmarks, filming locations and scenic spots.

Every location comes with accompanying photos and a short description of its significance. The app also has features for following friends and sharing photos similar to Instagram and a check-in feature similar to Foursquare.

“We want to surface photo-worthy tourist attractions that you’re close to,” said Crash Founder Erick Laubach. “Then get you to go out and explore them and interact with them.”

The app launched last week in Los Angeles; San Diego; San Francisco; Austin, Texas, and Hawaii. It also announced that it has raised $150,000 in seed funding from Bill Gross’ Idealab.

Laubach said the idea for the app first came to him while he worked for Silicon Beach shopping startup ThisNext. He watched tour buses roll through Santa Monica and thought there must be a better way to see the sights.

So Laubach left ThisNext and began taking photos of attractions around Los Angeles. In a month and a half, he had snapped more than 500 photos.

Not long after, he was introduced to Bill Gross and received an offer to join Idealab. Crash, which has just three full-time employees, has been working out of the incubator’s campus since last summer.

Since then, Crash has been developing its app and building up its database of photos and attractions. The company hires people to take photos for each new city it enters, but then relies on users to crowdsource new photos and facts about the various tourist spots. All photos submitted to Crash are hand-selected before uploaded to the app.

“Every photo goes through an approval process,” Laubach said. “It’s a little bit tricky for growth, but it also keeps the app real.”

Crash could eventually monetize its free app by charging for lead generation, selling traditional advertising or acting as a booking module for activities.