US-based travel start-up Hipmunk has secured $4.2 milion of investor funding to further develop its search technology that is designed to take the agony out of buying flights online.
When Travolution spoke to company founder and chief executive, Adam Goldstein, last week he would not be drawn on rumours of an imminent multi-million pound funding round.
However he did say an announcement was due soon and it came today in the form of investment from one-time Expedia bosses Rich Barton, Simon Breakwell and Eric Blachford.
Goldstein may only be 23, but the self confessed “flight nerd” says he has already booked more airline tickets than some travel agents.
He says Hipmunk was founded on two basic principles, showing all search results on a single page, and only showing flights people actually want to take. The first principle drives Hipmunk’s simplified user interface.
It takes customers’ basic travel information, then provides them with a one page and an easy to understand schedule of all the applicable flights.
“Customers should see all of the reasonable options on a single page,” said Goldstein. “They should not have to click through multiple pages of results, because if they do, then they forget the stuff they just saw and it wastes time.”
Hipmunk does more than just organise flights on a single page. Staying true to its second founding principle, the site’s search algorithm filters results based on agony.
That means the search filters out flights with long layovers, multiple stops or other undesirable characteristics. “There are certain flights that people just would not take,” said Goldstein.
“Flights that are longer, more expensive, flights that are on the same carrier, have longer connections or have more connections. And once you actually realise that, you realise the front end of most flight search websites are polluted with useless results.”
With the Agony filter, customers see flights that are a combination of good prices and less hassle.
“We wanted to make it a really easy for people to understand the trade-offs,” said Goldstein. “Ultimately I think that is what searching for flights is about. It is understanding how much time customers are saving when they spend a little bit of extra money.”
Hipmunk has not released any figures for their website or earnings but there are rumors the company is about to close a $6 million round of funding.
Goldstein would not confirm or deny these rumors but said the company could be making a big announcement very soon.