Edinburgh-based group booking start-up Make It Social is hoping that its move to API integration in version two of its technology will set it along the path of significant growth.
The firm likens its new approach to Stripe Payments, the San Francisco-based Silicon Valley business, and PayPal-owned Braintree that has helped both Uber and Airbnb achieve spectacular growth.
It offers a suite of payment APIs “built for developers”, something Make It Social says it now believes will help it attract larger enterprise clients.
In the two years since it was set up by Newcastle University graduate Eddie Robb based on his experience of organising rugby trips, Make It Social has enjoyed critical acclaim.
Growth has been steady, if not as spectacular as all tech start-ups dream of, so that today it has 60 customers, mostly relatively small companies.
Robb said the firm’s original approach of taking on the integration work for clients had become a sticking point preventing growth with larger enterprises.
“We want to become a third party that’s really easy to integrate. Our initial approach was to say give us your technology and we will do the integration for you.
“With version two we have made it as easy as an API. It’s a brand new shiny API and we have dropped the set up fee as a perk to encourage people to sign up.
“Version two means we can start speaking to the big players in the travel industry. Right now our focus is very much at enterprise level.
“We are now confident that if we get a big enterprise client we can deal with them. It’s time to go big 100%. The time is right in the market.”
Robb said the new technology had been built from the ground up, allowing developers access to the API and to test the Make It Social group booking solution at no cost initially.
No clients are yet up and running with version two, but a trial has been completed with a cinema company, as well as with Scottish Rugby.
Make It Social aims to open up online travel retailing to a new market of group bookings, which it believes does not happen currently due to the difficulties of managing multiple travellers and payments.
As well as enabling group planning, the technology also offers a group payment solution so that the risk is not all heaped on the tour or trip organiser.
The new technology, which was switched on two weeks ago, has been unveiled as the firm announced a round of “super seed” funding of £215,000.
As part of the funding round new backers have been brought onboard including Rob Dobson, the Edinburgh technology investor who led the funding round.
Industry veteran Steve Endacott has also invested and will use his contacts and presence in the travel sector to get Make It Social’s name out there.
Serial entrepreneur Endacott is currently chairman of Teletext Holidays and owner of travel software developer CWT Digital.
He previously owned the On Holiday Group, a consumer-facing retailer and trade supplier, which failed in 2014. This month, former Procter and Gamble senior executive Paul Lettice was appointed chairman.
Robb said the new funding will be used to market Make It social to the trade. In November the firm will sponsor a technology cafe at annual trade show World Travel Market.
He added he hopes to be moving on to Series A funding within the next nine months having been encouraged by the level of interest during recent visits to the US.
Make it Social has its base at CodeBase, the UK’s largest technology incubator at Argyle House in Edinburgh.