Hopper, the Montreal and Cambridge, Massachusetts-based travel startup, has raised $16 million in funding.
The new cash injection was led by the BDC Capital IT Venture Fund, with participation from previous investors OMERS Ventures, Accomplice and Brightspark Ventures, bringing the company’s fundraising total to $38 million.
In mid-December, we wrote that despite rumours to the contrary, Hopper never left its home of Montreal. Hopper, as many Montrealers may remember, was in stealth for about six years. Officially, it was launched in 2008 as a service to help users find new travel destinations, but it didn’t hit the public until 2014. In May 2014, reports surfaced that Hopper laid off several Montreal staff. Some thought it had relocated entirely to its Cambridge (MA) office, and little facts were revealed at the time.
Turns the rumours were inaccurate at best, and CEO Fred Lalonde told us at the time that he’d double his headcount in Montreal. With the new funding, Hopper is now in a position to hire a lot more people than originally planned.
Between iPhone and Android, the Hopper app has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times. Lalonde said it has saved users a total of $30 million on airfare.Hopper processes anywhere between six and eight billion flight prices every day and has an archive of over three trillion prices going back five years. The company has invested over $12 million building its data platform over seven years.
Instead of pushing people to buy right away, Hopper advises people whether a given flight price is good or bad, and often encourages people to wait to buy based on predictions. Over a quarter-million daily push notifications are sent out to users solely for timing advice.
According to cantech letter’s Terry Dawes, Lalonde sold his previous company Newtrade to Expedia in 2002, going on to become Product VP for Expedia’s Hotel and Packages group.
“He is also on the Board of Directors at MakeMyTrip (MMYT), and is chairman, co-founder and investor in travel and hospitality news site Tnooz.”
Dawes added that Hopper partners with several global distribution systems (GDS) which feed its real-time airfare search data. The app validates fares by sending a direct airfare shopping query through the GDS API before handing off the actual purchase to an airline or an online travel agency, such as Expedia or Travelocity.