We admit we were just a bit reluctant to ask the French man Edouard Tabet, who’s lived in Menlo Park for the last seven years, if the name of his startup, ZeTrip, was intentional.
“Ze Trip, of course,” he said with a sparkle in his eye. “I’m so glad you got it!”
Edouard has led engineering teams at SpeedDate and Trulia. With the private alpha launch of ZeTrip six months ago, he took the title of CEO. “But, I’m still an engineer first and am always programming,” he said while cooperating with photographer Scott Kline’s suggestion to capture just what “always programming” means (photos above).
Acknowledging that there are a lot of travel websites, he said, “Most of them are focused on travel planning. We want people to come to ZeTrip for travel inspiration before they know where they want to go.”
ZeTrip helps in this process by extracting untapped structured and unstructured travel data from social networks. “People like to share their vacation photos,” said Edouard. “I have about 200 friends on Facebook — that translates into 15,000 travel photos.”
It was education, not travel, that brought Edouard, who grew up in Paris and Nice, to the states. He attended the University of Chicago, eventually following a professor to the Bay Area when offered an engineering position at his teacher’s new company. He landed in Menlo Park because he had a friend in Palo Alto. Along the way, he met a French woman who was also living in the area; the pair will marry in France this September.
A full launch of ZeTrip is planned for later this month. “We already have some traction, the complete launch will give us more, and then we’ll go out to try to raise a round of funds,” he said.
Edouard admits when he’s not “always programming,” he does like to travel. We asked for his California, U.S. and international destination favorites: “In California, I like Venice Beach. Good weather and not as touristy as Santa Monica.
“In the U.S., we’ve been to Kauai a couple of times and like it the best of the Hawaiian islands. It’s close and exotic at the same time. Of course, anything in the U.S. is exotic to me.
“In January, we went to the Galapagos, so it’s currently at the top of my international favorites. So unique and so memorable.”
You can see Edouard’s complete travel profile and create your own here.
Photos of Edouard “always programming” by Scott R. Kline