Sidestep secures multi-million pound finance deal

Sidestep has been give a fresh injection of £7.5 million to expand the business further following its aggressive growth strategy of the past two years.

The US-based travel search engine revealed this week it had completed on a Series C funding programme led by Norwest Venture Partners, a consortium of venture capital groups including Trident Capital, Leader Ventures and Saints Capital.

The new round of funds is likely to be spent on growing its existing travel search business as well as expanding its user-generated content and media interests.

Sidestep launched its dedicated UK & Ireland website in September last year and also bought the user review site a month later.

Chief executive and president, Rob Solomon, said: “The travel search category is fundamentally changing the way consumers research and shop for travel.

“The commitment and confidence of these première financial partners is recognition of both the huge potential of travel search and of SideStep’s leading position within that market.”

The move comes as rival US site Kayak celebrates completing its second year in business with a pledge to introduce new initiatives during 2007.

The new Sidestep financiers said the company had “outstanding market potential”.

Robert Abbott, general partner at Norwest Venture Partners, who has secured a place on the SideStep board through the move, added:” The company’s technology, user-generated content, search products and leadership have earned the confidence of this combined investor group as a travel media company that will drive vertical search forward and create huge value for consumers.”

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