Montreal-headquartered Hopper today secured one of the largest VC deals in Canadian history: $100 million in Series D capital from a group led by Omers Ventures, according to Venturebeat’s Kyle Wiggers.
Hopper cofounder Frederic Lalonde said the cash injection will hire engineers, customer service representatives, and data scientists, with the goal of roughly doubling the company’s headcount to 200 by the end of 2018. And it’ll fuel Hopper’s global expansion efforts, particularly in the areas of language, currency, and pricing localization.
“Travel is a $1.3 trillion industry, with online taking $662 billion of that, and mobile booking valued at $264 billion,” said Lalonde said. “As the world continues to shift from the web to mobile, and in-app, in particular — estimates place online mobile minutes anywhere between 70-90 percent worldwide and 92 percent of all mobile time is spent in-app — Hopper is in a unique position to become the go-to way to book travel.”
Existing investors who participated include Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Accomplice, Brightspark Ventures, Investissement Québec, BDC Capital IT Venture Fund, as well as new investor Citi Ventures. This round brings Hopper’s total to date to $184 million.
Frederic Lalonde, Joost Ouwerkerk, and a team of former Expedia engineers cofounded Hopper, a travel platform designed to suss out the best available airfare and hotel rates. Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Montreal, the startup went on to book more than 75 million trips for its tens of millions of users.
Hopper uses artificial intelligence to power its app. Machine learning algorithms suggest travel on alternative dates and locations, which Hopper says spur 25 percent of all bookings, noted Venturebeat. (It says 90 percent of sales come directly from push notifications.) Last year, the startup set its analytics loose on hotel listings — offering 200 discounted listings across 20 major U.S. markets, with plans to add more in 2019.