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Shortly after he graduated from high school, Dominick DeLucia boarded a plane to London, a city he had never visited before, and spent several months exploring the rich history and vibrant atmosphere of the British metropolis.
While his overseas adventure was transformative, DeLucia found existing social media channels inadequate to effectively convey the deeply personal significance of his trip to family and friends.
After being admitted to Harvard, and taking several computer science courses at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, DeLucia, A.B. ’17, a statistics concentrator with a secondary in computer science, developed a social media tool that captures the multifaceted, exploratory nature of travel.
With the help of friend and co-founder Macallan Atkins, currently a student at Bucknell University, the concept for Excurvant became a reality earlier this year. The platform provides an outlet for journey-based sharing, where people can chronicle their travels by posting photos, videos, and text .
“Excurvant allows users to share their travel experiences in a much deeper way than existing social media sites like Instagram and Facebook,” he said. “You don’t get the full experience of travel by just posting a few snapshots.”
The Excurvant platform, which will launch as a website this summer and later as a mobile app, is focused exclusively on travel, so posts aren’t lost among a sea of other social media content, he explained.
The platform functions as a comprehensive, crowd-sourced global travel guide. Users will be able to see shared content from individuals they follow, like family members or celebrities. They can also view the most popular, curated content relating to their personal “dream list,” a collection of destinations one hopes to visit or activities one is interested in trying.
By listing a destination, like Bali, a user sees the best photos, videos, and text content from all others who traveled to the Indonesian island. A user who lists scuba diving would see the most popular scuba diving content posted by travelers all over the world. The feature gives users firsthand information about destinations or experiences they would likely never have discovered on their own, DeLucia said.
“This is more than sharing tips about the best hotels or places to eat,” he said. “We want to encourage experiential sharing, so people can discover new travel opportunities and also inspire others.”
DeLucia and Atkins recently received an initial round of seed funding to support the development of the website and app. The biggest challenge they face now is moving forward carefully, so every detail is correct before the social media site launches this summer.
Initially, they plan to focus exclusively on growing the user base. Eventually, they hope to incorporate a booking platform into Excurvant and also bring vendors to the site. Their goal is to seamlessly connect businesses with travelers in a one-stop booking and shopping environment.
“We want to be a next-generation travel agency,” he said. “We envision Excurvant as a tool that can inspire people to travel and then connect them with the vendors who can supply the goods and services to makes their travel dreams a reality.”
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