Hopper nears launch with additional $12M in funding

Travel search startup Hopper has announced an additional $12 million investment round led by OMERS Ventures, the venture capital arm of one of Canada’s largest pension funds.

This latest round brings the company’s total amount raised to $22 million, including the $8 million investments by Brightspark and Atlas Venture announced last year.

Hopper, founded in 2007 and headquartered in Cambridge, MA, USA, has been working on one very ambitious goal: to bring inspiration back to the travel planning process through aggregating travel information into what will likely be the world’s most comprehensive database of travel-related data.

Hopper has already crawled more than half a billion pages of travel data and has plans to double that by the end of the year.

Frederic Lalonde, Hopper’s CEO:

“Planning a trip can be tedious and frustrating. Information is often scattered across the web, making research difficult and time-consuming. Eventually, people feel like they have to settle for just ‘good enough.’ At Hopper, we are working hard to transform this process and bring the joy and inspiration back to travel planning.”

With extensive travel technology background from companies like Expedia and TripAdvisor, Hopper’s executive team is poised to also seek to integrate OTAs and other distribution outlets to not only facilitate inspiration, but also bookings as well.

Derek Smyth of OMERS Ventures will be joining the Hopper board, alongside Atlas Venture partner Jeff Fagnan, co-founders Frederic Lalonde and Joost Ouwerkerk, PhoCusWright chairman Philip Wolf and Brightspark managing partner Sophie Forest.

Mr. Smyth explains the investment:

“It’s really important to OMERS Ventures that we are leading a significant round of financing for a company like Hopper that has the strong potential to be a game changer in its industry. Hopper’s management team is world-class, with the big data expertise required to completely revolutionize the way customers discover and book their online travel.  Hopper is exactly the kind of company we look to partner with over the long term as it disrupts an entire industry.”

OMERS Ventures has previously invested in Hootsuite, BuildDirect, and Wave Accounting Inc., and seeks companies with significant potential and market opportunity, focusing on high-growth companies in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors.

Disclosure: Frederic Lalonde is chairman, co-founder and an investor in Tnooz.

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Nick Vivion

About the Writer :: Nick Vivion

Nick is the Editorial Director for tnooz, where he oversees the editorial and commercial content as well as emerging businesses like tnoozLIVE. Prior to this role, Nick has multi-hyphenated his way through a variety of passions: restaurateur, photographer, filmmaker, corporate communicator, Lyft driver, Airbnb host, journalist, and event organizer.



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  1. Leonid

    It is very interesting what is the company valuation.

  2. Wouter Blok

    Hopper is a really intruiging site, which indexes, organises and ranks all travel related sites. Unlike Google does now, they wish to actually answer your queries like “beatiful beach get away with young children, 2 hours flying from Amsterdam.” this without asking a community like Gogobot, but by semantic understanding and smart algo’s. My question is, will they be able to beat Google to it?

  3. Pete Meyers

    How is this different from Gogobot, Wanderfly and other discovery / inspiration sites that curate 3rd party travel content and also work off an OTA referral business model?

    • Nick Vivion

      Nick Vivion

      The main difference is that it’s not users that are providing the recommendations, but an intelligent search engine that can deliver exactly what you’re looking for. Of course, I still want to play around with the actual product first to answer this question!

  4. matt

    That’s a lot of money raised, congrads on raising this new round.

  5. Titus

    MyGlobalPal.com is doing something better with the data it collects. Hopper got the right idea but they need to focus the “big data” to a market that will truly use it. Also Big Data refers to machine learning that basically knows you better than Facebook does. How do they plan on doing this? MyGlobalPal is doing exactly that.

  6. Varun Khona

    Martin, I guess all of us shudder at the thought of a Color repeat. However, if the founding team happens to be decorated entrepreneurs/executives prior to starting up, the venture is bound to make a lot of noise. Similar case in point, Asana and Square. 12m these days is not awfully lot, relatively speaking.

  7. Martin Manucci

    Is this another example of an anti-lean startup? Didn’t big embarrassing examples like Color and more recently Airtime showed that an experienced management team pursuing an ambitious idea in a big market doesn’t necessarily secure success, justifying throwing lots of money to pre-launch companies? With current state of the art technology is it necessary that much capital to get of the ground? Just wondering. It will be definitely interesting to see how it rolls out.

    • Jim

      I agree Martin, I was pretty excited when I first heard about this project in Tnooz but it does give me pause that they’ve been around since 2007 and have raised so much money without even having a beta site out (or perhaps they do and maybe I just don’t know about it?).

      There’s probably a direct correlation between length of development phase before launch and likelihood of success. I can’t claim to know what it is but my guess is its a negative correlation, certainly for consumer-facing experiences – but maybe this is a b-2-b play?

      Hoping they have something available for public view soon.

      • Martin M.

        Jim, I agree. I do think that complex technological solutions take time and capital, but even Elon Musk launched a rocket to the space in less than 5 years (http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/05/spacex-timeline/). I don’t think that they are not going to be successful, with such team I am sure they will. I just think they could have saved time and equity with a ‘leaner’ approach. I wish them the best in any case.


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