Travel Startups Incubator has announced a $25,000 investment in VidPal, a travel and tourism video marketplace that provides paid opportunities to the freelance video community and gives the 56.4 million visitors to New York City an on-demand, video request service.

VidPal gives travelers the opportunity to request custom New York City-related videos before they visit the city. VidPal users choose a location on a map and describe their request, setting a deadline for it to be completed and a price they are willing to pay. Requests are only limited by what can be filmed. Freelance videographers can then bid on the projects that appeal to them, and earn “bounty” – the amount offered by the user requesting the video.

The service is free to sign up to and has a number of applications for travelers. For example, VidPal allows users to see what their hotel really looks like, or they may ask for a quick video guide to ten top off-the-beaten-track sights to visit during their trip.

VidPal is the brainchild of John Ortega, an entrepreneur and devout traveler. Ortega found that he was often missing specific, useful information about his destination when he took trips. The video request marketplace presents an elegant solution for travelers in a similar position.

Ortega sought out the help of qualified mobile domain expert, Jaime Gonzalez (formerly of Rocket Mobile and Dada Entertainment, child companies of mobile giant Buongiorno), to bring Ortega’s idea to life. Gonzalez, CTO of VidPal and John Ortega’s partner believes that VidPal’s patented video request platform enables users to reach out to videographers and incentivize them to provide unique videos about any location they are interested in. “Thanks to this platform and our exclusive bidding system, videographers can compete to provide tourists with the best video for their upcoming destination, ” said Gonzales. “We strive to accept and quickly process all kinds and formats of videos from users to enable our  community to watch them on their favorite device.” 

Ortega further explaind that “VidPal focuses on the travel industry in particular, aiming to help travelers to New York get customized information about their trip. Traveling to new places can be challenging, especially when they are as vast and exciting as New York City. I wanted to give people the chance to make the most of the eyes and ears on the ground, giving them an on-demand, customized service, and an advantage that they have never had before.”

The user-base is expanding rapidly and the service is expected to have 10,000 subscribers by October 2015. The startup is actively recruiting freelancers in New York to fulfill video requests, and is currently running a contest running until the end of August, aiming to find the best New York City video. The company plans to expand the on-demand video service to the global travel marketplace in the future.

“It is our hope that VidPal will become the premier on-demand video marketplace in travel for just about any destination in the world,” added Matt Zito, Managing Partner of Travel Startups Incubator.

“We will be providing job opportunities for freelancers and giving tourists an eye into what locals know about their destination,” said Ortega.

Along with Travel Startups Incubator, VidPal has partnered with Crowne Hotel Princeton and New York Tours. The startup also plans future partnerships with ExpoTv and GenVideo. The company’s cloud services provider is Rackspace Cloud.


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