STARTUPS – Product news, launches and more – August 2013

The latest startups news, launches and more from around the travel, tourism and hospitality industry in August 2013.

Saturday 31 August 2013:

  • Desti comes out of beta and launches across US. The company (TLabs here) soft launched in December last year but has now pushed its combination of trip planning and accommodation search to Apple device users.

Friday 30 August 2013:

  •, India’s car rental aggregator is planning to launch its service in Chennai and Hyderabad in the next quarter. The company also says that it will expand to 15 cities in India by 2015.

Thursday 29 August 2013:

  • Uber is on a roll. Uber has stealth-launched its service in Cape Town and Bangalore. In Cape Town, Uber is hiring general managers, operational managers and community managers. In Bangalore, Uber wants to hire a community manager. The company is on a rapid expansion mode, in the last four days, Uber has launched in four different countries. Last week, Uber received $258 million in funding and the company highlighted in its blog section that its expanding its service in Asia and Europe.
  • Inspirato launches VIP events access programme. The luxury accommodation startup (TLabs here) will offer users exclusive entry to events around the world, such as sports events, cultural shows, presentations and lifestyle retreats.

Wednesday 28 August 2013:

  • Uber is testing its service in Dubai. The company will continue to test for next several weeks by adding new cars daily. The company has also announced its hiring plans in Dubai, and created a new Twitter handle.

Monday 26 August 2013:

  • Uber soft launched its service in Shanghai. Currently, the company is charging in USD. Last month, we wrote about Uber’s expansion in Asia.

Thursday 22 August 2013:

  • Rocket Internet’s car rental service EasyTaxi has launched its service in Philippines.

Friday 16 August 2013:

  • Austin-based local recommendation site Localeur continues to expand, moving into New York City in advance of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. The expansion includes a new music discovery section that will connect emerging musicians with the Localeur community.
  • Australia-based startup Adioso [TLabs here] appoints Azim Barodawala, Jetstar’s former head of strategy as its CEO. Adioso is a flight search engine where users can search by typing in free form English.
  • Singapore-based luxury travel portal TheLuxeNomad secured about $700,000 in a funding round led by Innosight Ventures with participation from Japanese investors, Zipan Enterprise Network. This additional fund will be used to expand the team and hotel inventory across Asia, invest in technology to improve its services. The member-only portal that was launched in July 2012 by Stephanie Chai offers flash sales of luxury hotels and resorts. The company appoints celebrities like Taiwanese actor Godfrey Gao, Miss Malaysia Universe 2011, Deborah Henry, and Hong Kong supermodel couple Jocelyn Luko and Anthony Sandstrom to review its partner hotels. The company has partnership with 200 hotels across APAC and Europe and has its office in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
  • Trekksoft, [TLabs here] Swiss-based technology solution provider for tour and activity market has secured its first round of funding worth $800,000 from Redalpine Capital II and other prominent investors in Switzerland. Private investors include Armin Meier, former CEO of Kuoni, Walter Güntensperger, CEO of Active Travel and Adrian Locher, founder and COO of The fund will be used to expand in Europe, North and South American markets, and also to improve its desktop and mobile solutions. The company currently processes over half a million bookings and it has 200 suppliers in the system resulting in 3000 tours. TrekkSoft’s Board of Directors now includes Jonathan Fauver (co-founder, CEO), Adrian Locher, Markus Oswald from Innovation Fund and Philippe Willi (co-founder, COO / CFO).
  • India-based startup RailYatri has launched a new service by name RailWisdom that allows users to add tips for various railway stations across India.

Tuesday 13 August 2013:

  • Cambridge-based Dashbell, reservation management software for hotel has expanded its team by recruiting Gustavo Varallo and Ana Sagrian. Varallo will be responsible the company’s business development and sales initiatives in Brazil. Sagrian will be responsible for business development in Spanish speaking markets in Latin America.

Thursday 8 August 2013:

  • Updates from Revinate, the online reputation management company:
a) Revinate launched Revinate Surveys– A guest satisfaction solution that allows hoteliers to easily solicit, collect and analyze feedback from guests.

b) The company released a native app for iOS platform. This app will allow hoteliers to actively manage their hotels’ online reputation at any time, from anywhere.

c) The new Custom Reports allows customers to easily build custom reports on any data tracked by Revinate.

d) Revinate’s new integration with Sina Weibo, the fast-growing social network in China, allows customers to target the growing Chinese market.

  • Silvercar, Austin-based luxury segment car rental company [TLabs here]  has launched its service in SFO. In June 2013, the company raised $5 million funding, totalling to $16.5 million.

Monday 5 August 2013:

  • Local recommendation startup Localeur has launched into San Francisco, offering up their localeur-fueled tips to the Bay Area.
  • Cambridge-based FlightCar has emerged out of stealth mode and launched its service in public beta mode. The company has launched a program by name FlightCar Monthly where car owners can offer their car to be used by FlightCar users. Anyone can register in this program, however FlightCar has to approve the request for the car to be considered in their service. As part of this program, irrespective of whether the car is rented or not, the company pays owners anywhere between $150 to $400 depending on the type of the car. Owners who have enrolled their cars in this program can also use their car (or an equivalent) for free of charge for four days in a month.

  • Zipcar, the car sharing company has expanded its service offering to San Diego. The company says that about 50 Zipcars are parked in prime locations in San Diego’s neighborhood areas such as East Village Little Italy, Irvine Company’s NBC and Wells Fargo buildings, as well as at the San Diego International Airport. Earlier this year, Avis bought Zipcar in a $500 million deal.
  • GoEuro, Berlin-based multi-modal travel search portal [TLabs here] has expaded its coverage of rail, bus, and flights in Europe. The company has added 40 new bus companies (including Berlin Linien Bus and City2City) and integrated German regional and inner-city transportation networks.
  • HotelQuickly, Hong Kong-based last minute hotel reservation company [TLabs here] has now launched its service in New Zealand. The company that was launched four months ago has its mobile app downloaded 120,000 times across all of its platforms.

Previous roundups:

NB: Startup image via Shutterstock.

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