Expedia alumni Rich Barton, Simon Breakwell, Greg Slyngstad and others funded for travel startup
The mystery surrounding the startup fronted by former-Expedia chief executive and president Rich Barton is starting to unravel with more old pals joining the team and a funding round secured.
A key issue following Barton around for months is now also finally unveiled with news that the startup will be in the travel industry – at least if its working title is to be believed.
Barton and Greg Slyngstad, until now the only other publicly named person on the team and a former-general manager at Expedia until 2002, were recently joined by Simon Breakwell, ex-president of Expedia in Europe who left in 2006.
A fourth member of the founding team is Sunil Shah. Barton and Slyngstad recently confirmed they were looking for a CTO and Shah, another Microsoft and then Expedia technical whizz, would fit the bill.
Barton has spoken publicly yet only briefly about the startup. This week Barton and Breakwell have all gone off the radar and not returned any messages enquiring about the company.
However, Slyngstad responded with a brief note:
“We’re confirming that we closed on our Series A funding but not saying much else until we have a bit more to show. We are temporarily calling ourselves New Travelco.”
The Series A founding round for the business was secured on March 5, according to a message on Twitter from Slyngstad.
With a founding team featuring some of the leading lights from the early days of Expedia in the US and elsewhere (Breakwell is credited with its success in Europe), attention will now turn to its business and strategy.
But given the high profile and experience of the founders, speculation about its possible area of focus is extremely varied.
There were rumours at ITB in Berlin last week that the quartet may be developing something in the metasearch hotel sphere.
But in addition, Barton is co-founder and chairman of Glassdoor.com, which makes some think that reviews and user-generated content could be part of the mix.
Interestingly the founders still have other matters to attend to on their books.
Barton is (and has confirmed he will remain) chief executive of property site Zillow.com; Slyngstad is a board member at metasearch engine Kayak; Breakwell is an ecommerce consultant for European tour operator Thomas Cook; and Shah, according to LinkedIn, is in the employ of Disney Interactive Media Group.
Kayak CEO Steve Hafner says he believes Slyngstad will remain on his board of directors – detail which potentially rules out a metasearch play.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.