Rockville, Maryland-based BeyondGuide, a provider of travel content to mobile phones, is to complete a $10 million funding round in the beginning of January 2002, TheMarker.com has learned.
Just last week BeyondGuide completed a merger with Locality, a German provider of travel content.
Yechiam Halevy, company founder, president and CEO relayed the news to TheMarker.com. Bertelsmann Capital Ventures, owner of 50% of BeyondGuide, is leading the round, in which Israeli venture capital funds may join later.
BeyondGuide is also thinking of forming strategic co-operations with Israeli developers of technologies that complement its activity.
Halevy, the former chief media and information officer for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, is visiting Israel together with a top Bertelsmann Capital Ventures executive, Christian Flam. The two met with local VC fund managers over the last few days, in order to generate interest in the funding round. According to Halevy responses have been keen.
BeyondGuide will launch information services on tourist sites in Jerusalem in the next few months, in co-operation with a local cellular operator Halevy refused to name. It plans to expand its services to Paris, London, Rome and Berlin in the first half of 2002, and to Boston and San Francisco.
The company currently runs services in Washington D.C. and in New York, which enable cell phone-equipped tourists to receive voice info on the historical and cultural background of the tourist sites for 48 hours, at a $10 cost.
Leading content providers are responsible for the content, among them Bertelsmann Fodor, National Geographic and the Travel Channel. According to Halevy, these providers regard BeyondGuide¿s services as new media and marketing channels, and will therefore not charge the company for content provision, but instead get royalties based on subscriber use.
BeyondGuide employs 40 workers - 20 of whom work for Locality.de. ¿ in its headquarters in Washington and Hamburg. The company's VP Technology is Yuval Rabin, son of late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.