Apparently the downturn has not soured investors in the travel industry. Start up travel bookings Hopper Today announced that it has completed a $96 million follow-up investment from Capital One, bringing the company’s total to nearly $730 million. The fresh money will be spent on various endeavors, CEO and co-founder Frederic Lalonde said in a press release, including supporting Hopper’s new social commerce initiatives.
As part of the funding, Hopper says it is expanding its partnership with Capital One (which led to Hopper’s Series F) to create new travel products aimed at Capital One customers. Hopper’s technology is already the driving force behind Capital One Travel and Premier Collection, Capital One’s marketplace of hotels and resorts exclusively for Capital One Venture X cardholders. It’s a safe bet that similar experiences in that direction are imminent.
“With Hopper, we’ve found a partner that can not only match that pace, but help us continue to challenge the status quo and take a differentiated approach to building a world-class travel brand,” said Capital One, managing director VP Matt Knise in a statement. . “Thanks to this strategic partnership, we are well positioned to adapt to a rapidly changing travel environment and create industry-leading solutions for our customers as they travel.”
Founded by Frederic Lalonde and Joost Ouwerkerk in 2007, Hopper spent six years undetected building what at the time claimed to be “the world’s largest structured database of travel information.” The company’s web crawling technology took blogs, photo sharing sites, and other location information sources and tagged them to geolocation in a massive place database. But after Hopper’s public debut in 2014, the company’s leadership decided to turn to mobile and devote technical resources to flight forecasting, building a tool that continuously monitors airline prices and sends price change alerts via push notifications.
Since then, Hopper has grown into one of the largest travel apps in North America, with over 80 million downloads and sales of flights, hotels, homes and rental cars on the platform set to exceed $4.5 billion this year. Hopper sets itself apart from competing travel services (e.g. Travelocity) with features such as airfare freezes and flight disruption guarantees, which the company says accounts for about 40% of its total app revenue.
Last year, Hopper ventured into the business-to-business market with the launch of Hopper Cloud, a collaborative program that allows travel providers, including Kayak, Marriott and Trip.com, to resell Hopper’s fintech and travel agency products through a white-label portal. Hopper claims Cloud has seen a meteoric rise, now accounting for over 40% of Hopper’s business; Lalonde claims that Hopper Cloud is on track to earn more by 2022 than all of Hopper did last year.
On the consumer side, Hopper shifted his focus to in-app promotions, discounts and sales events this spring. Social commerce is the company’s next big step, anchored by features such as referrals, share to earn, team purchases and daily gifts, which reward users with discounts on travel purchases for launching the app and sharing with friends.
Hopper was last valued at $5 billion, australiabusinessblog.com reported in early February. The company, which has an estimated 11.2% of the external aviation market in the US, plans to eventually go public.