Hopper’s multiyear mission to use big data tools to bring structure to the web’s travel-related information continues with a fresh infusion of cash. CEO Frederic Lalonde talked about how his company is taking advantage of acquisition-happy Google’s interest in travel information.
Google’s move to buy travel publisher Frommer’s highlights how local and travel are coming together. Increasingly, the best travel services are focused on treating you like a local. And local services are becoming great resources for people looking to spend time in an unfamiliar city.
Social travel recommendation app Trover has slowly undergone a makeover the past month or so. CEO Jason Karas talked with us about how Trover’s users were the ones who turned the travel app into an aspirational, entertainment-oriented app that is only somewhat related to real-life travel.
FlightTrack Free is not replacing the popular, paid FlightTrack or FlightTrack Pro apps. It’s a separate, scaled-down version of FlightTrack with a redesigned interface. Mobiata, FlightTrack’s creator, plans eventually to add in-app purchase options.
Though the U.S. travel industry brings in $2 billion a year and employs 100 million people, Rafat Ali says there’s no one website where industry execs and business travelers can go for information. So he’s launching Skift, a website focused on travel news, data and services.
Apple’s iPhone charger isn’t always practical for travel. The iKeep Charger is excellent for not just charging the iPhone, but other devices like wireless headphones or a mobile hotspot. After using it, I really think it is a must-have device on the go.
Fotopedia users in China account for the largest chunk of its iPad audience by far. So naturally the travel app photo magazine for iOS is launching an app featuring the country itself. It arrives Thursday to coincide with the launch of the new iPad in China.
On Thursday the team behind Jetpac plans to announce it has raised a $2.4 million Series A round of funding for its iPad app that lets you use your friends’ travel photos to search for vacation destination or just fuel your own wanderlust.
Kayak, the travel search company, re-filed for a long-delayed IPO. It hopes to raise up to $100 million in a valuation that, at the high end of its pricing, would approach $965 million. Will a successful consumer Internet IPO wipe out the bad taste of Facebook’s profitable but non-popping debut? Kayak is one of the few examples of vertical search that seems successful outside of a retail or content context. Its sales – a mix of advertising and distribution fees – grew 32 percent in 2011 to $225 million, and 38 percent in Q1 to $73 million. It is profitable on an operating basis. But Kayak has some cautions. Sixty-three percent of its revenue came from its top 10 customers, with Expedia alone accounting for 23 percent and Orbitz and Priceline 10 percent each. Its IPO was delayed for nearly 2 years to combat Google’s acquisition of ITA that supplies much of Kayak’s data. A consent decree continues that license through 2016, and Kayak doesn’t appear too dependent on search results for traffic. However, that’s partly because it spent $58 million on brand advertising last year (on top of $46 million in search and contextual ads).
CasaHop, the first start-up out of former Huffington Post CTO Paul Berry’s incubator SoHo Tech Labs, has raised $1.2 million, led by First Round Capital, with participation from Betaworks, Lerer Ventures and a number of individual investors. The site helps users exchange homes.