Travel app will also invest big money, hire 300 more in customer service roles following flurry of complaints last winter.
Montreal and Boston-based travel app Hopper has raised $220 million (US $175 million) in a series G round as it seeks to promote its financial technology capabilities, while bolstering customer service.
The cash is coming from lead investor GPI Capital with participation from Glade Brook Capital, WestCap, Goldman Sachs Growth and Accomplice. The company has now raised a mind-boggling $534 million (US $423.7 million) over 10 funding rounds since its inception.
Hopper says it has over 60 million downloads, consistently ranks as one of the most downloaded travel apps, and now has a larger air travel market share in North America than it did before the pandemic.
“The success of our fintech offerings demonstrate that travelers are willing to pay for flexibility and assurance as they resume traveling again,” said CEO Frederic Lalonde. “We feel strongly that our fintech offerings through Hopper Cloud can help supercharge the travel industry’s recovery by introducing a totally unique revenue stream for other brands. In fact, if all travel distribution channels offered our fintech, it could increase the total consumer spend for the sector by $200 billion annually.”
The cash will be used to accelerate the company’s growth, including in customer support. In December 2020 and March 2021, Techcrunch and The Logic reported on the company’s struggles to address customer service concerns throughout the pandemic. Some customers complained that, in the absence of a phone number, they resorted to “having to post a review in order to receive any sort of attention.”
Hopper says it has scaled its customer support team by 200 percent, and that 60 percent of all customer support requests “are now resolved instantly” through self-serve automation tools.
It will also hire an additional 500 employees, including 300 customer service roles. The company is actively looking to acqui-hire other teams in travel, data science, or engineering-heavy startups to introduce new product offerings and expand internationally.
Lalonde referenced the company’s Hopper Cloud product, a new B2B initiative launched earlier this year. Through the partnership program, any travel provider can integrate and distribute Hopper’s content. It also offers white-label travel portals for companies seeking “to sell travel with a differentiated consumer experience and offering.”
The company says it “takes on all financial risk as its AI is able to dynamically price each fintech offering on a real-time basis at scale.”
Based on its current run rate, Hopper believes it is pacing towards a 330% revenue growth compared to last year. The company says it has already surpassed its pre-pandemic revenue peak from Q1 2020 by over 100%. Product roll-outs have been delivered over a mix of air, hotel and car rental bookings, with the company’s fintech offerings now representing a majority of its revenue.
(PHOTO: FREDERICK DUCHESNE)