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Fast growing social travel site WAYN has raised £5.7m in a funding round led by Esprit Capital Partners.

The move has also seen co-founder of Lastminute.com Brent Hoberman, one of the investors, becoming the site's non-executive chairman.

WAYN was founded by friends Pete Ward and Jerome Touze in 2002 after they returned from a round-the-world trip. It started slowly, but after relaunching 18 months ago, it now claims to have 7m users, with 650,000 joining last month.

Around 100,000 of those are subscribers, paying up to £7.50 a month for additional services, so the site isn’t totally reliant on advertising revenue.

On his blog, Nic Brisbourne of Esprit Capital Partners cited the subscription model as one reason behind the investment.

As well as Hoberman, other investors in the round included David Soskin and Hugo Burge of Cheapflights and  Adrian Critchlow and Andy Phillips of Active Hotels.

Hoberman reckons the site has the potential to be huge: 

"WAYN is a flagship example of the next generation of internet companies born out of the UK with global potential. The innovative customer proposition, which enables members to interact with others, based on the places they have been or plan to visit in the future, has proved to be extremely popular.”

“The WAYN brand has massive growth potential and I am delighted to be involved."

WAYN has competition from other social travel sites, including Travelhiker, which launched earlier this year, and tripmates, both of which offer a similar service. In addition, Travelistic.com allows travellers to share videos of their holiday experiences.

Graham Charlton

Published 29 November, 2006 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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