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New travel startup still in stealth hopes to offer users informative travel packages
Stealth travel startup Hopper announced Monday that it has closed $8 million in funding from Atlas Venture and Brightspark Ventures. The capital adds to a $2 million round raised in 2008.
As part of the deal, Atlas Venture partner Jeff Fagnan will join the Hopper board of directors.
“We’re really excited to be working with Jeff and Atlas,” said Frederic Lalonde, CEO of Hopper, a company “eager to build on the local travel technology expertise that’s centered around MIT and to contribute to Boston’s Big Data community.”
Feel free to visit Hopper’s quiet website (https://hopper.travel), but you won’t find much. There’s a logo, a search bar (that you can’t access) and a message that reads, “Hopper is in closed alpha testing. To get an invite, like us on facebook or follow us on twitter.”
Eventually, once users can type into that little search bar, Hopper hopes to be the go-to destination for “consumer travel discovery.” The company offers “best beaches in Europe” as an example of a possible search query, with the service returning specific European destinations ranked by beach quality, along with flight and hotel information sealing up the package.
Everyone knows preparing a trip can be a painstaking process, involving too many disjointed services handling different parts of the trip: the flight, the hotel reservation, things to do once you’re there and so on. If Hopper can wrangle all the data across the Web and present it to the user in a clear, easy-to-consume way, they could have something big.
Two other startups we’ve recently covered in the travel startup space include Hipmunk, which is trying to take the agony out of flying, along with gbot, Gogobot and Tripl.
The company will be using its new capital, in part, to open a new office in Boston and to double its engineering team over the next year. Hopper is already hiring: they’re looking for a part-time or full-time Java developer as well as a part-time or full-time systems engineer.
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