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Former Vator Splash winner has now raised $5.4 million in funding
For people who travel often, I can only image how confusing it must be with all of the different rewards programs, miles and rewards. I only had miles with Delta, American Airlines and Virgin, and I got so confused with when I was supposed to use them that at least two of them expired. Not that I ever want to fly Delta again, but still. Nobody told me that I had to use them or else, so I lost them.
Personal travel organizer Traxo wants to take all of this information and make it easy to find. And now the company has raised $4.2 million in a Series A round of funding, it was announced on Wednesday.
The funding came from Advantage Capital Partners, Silver Creek Ventures, and Thayer Ventures. The company previously raised a $1.2 million seed round bringing its total funding to $5.4 million. Traxo was the Vator Splash NY 2012 winner.
Traxo will use the new money to ramp up its product development and to expand internationally, Andres Fabris, co-founder and CEO of Traxo, told me in an interview.
For the product development end, that specifically means giving users more intelligent travel tools, including more destination content, like attractions and deals in the area, he said. As for the international expansion, the money will go toward making the product available in new languages.
While Traxo currently has 20% of its users in 50 countries around the world, most of them are countries that are "comfortable with English," said Fabris. That is not going to be the case everywhere Traxo lands, of course, so the company will begin translating the user interface into languages other than English.
Launched in 2009, Traxo automatically detects and aggregates travel information, including itineraries, miles, points, and elite status, directly from over 200 different travel websites. It accepts travel confirmation emails, organizing everything into a single, comprehensive travel dashboard. Users are able to track miles, points, status, expiration dates, usernames and passwords.
Fabris called the service a "Mint.com for travel."
The idea came when Fabris, and co-founder Andy Chen "started to notice that there were less and less traditional agents, and that people were booking their own trips online. All of a sudden, travelers had a lot of choices, but they were scattered across different sites, where they had to manually insert details, like their flight, car rental, hotel, weather, flight departures, trip by trip with every booking," he said.
"We wanted to build technology that could automatically detect components of the trip, and centralize it to single dashboard. It allows users to manage their entire travel life in one place."
Traxo is not an entirely unique service; there are other sites out there, like TripIt, WorldMake, and TripCase, which also aggregate trip data. So what separates Traxo from the competition?
For one, Fabris pointed to the sophistication of their technology.
"We have invested in a platform that can automatically detect, organize and consolidate information," he said. Other sites rely on the users themselves pushing the information.
"Automatic updates make sure that the data is always fresh."
In addition, the site is free, which other sites are not. And, lastly, Traxo has made the site and product "fun and engaging by adding a social and gamification layer."
That means that the company has created something called a "travel score," which means that users can get points for their trips, including more points for visiting unique place, taking longer trips, for using their miles, etc. They can then use these points for perks and benefits, including free airfare, free car rental vouchers, and magazine subscriptions to Conde Naste.
Users can even get points for trips they took before they signed up for Traxo, as long as the information is still on the travel site used to book that experience. So far past reservations can be pulled from 50 different travel sites.
Giving users travel achievements and trophies, and allowing them to see how their travel compares to others, makes users more engaged, said Fabris.
"There is an inherent desire to collect and track travel experience. There is a built in desire to compare and share with others as well."
Ultimately the goal of Traxo is to make travel more personalized.
By being able to automatically detect travel preferences, it can know where user stay, where they have memberships, where they have friends, and use that information to make traveling, and booking, easier and cheaper.
For example, it can use that info to let the user know if the hotel or airline is running a promotion, effectively notifying them of promotion they may not have realized they missed.
"It's like clipping a coupon for purchase you already made," said Fabris. "If we can help a traveler earn 20,000 extra points, that could be a $400 value."
While Fabris could not give me a definitive number of users, he said that the Dallas-based company is "growing very quickly."
“The folks that have invested in this round see that Traxo has a tremendous amount of momentum going forward."
(Image source: https://www.traxo.com)
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Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs
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TripIt, the trip management company, helps people organize and share their travel plans no matter where they book. Travelers simply forward their travel confirmation emails from over 1,000 sites to firstname.lastname@example.org. TripIt automatically creates a master itinerary that combines all their travel plans plus weather, maps, restaurants and more.
With TripIt it’s easy to share and collaborate on trips with friends and colleagues in social networks. TripIt itineraries can be accessed via online, mobile device, free Android, BlackBerry and iPhone apps, personal calendars and social networking sites including the free LinkedIn travel app.
TripIt is an open itinerary platform that works with a growing eco-system of travel and mobile partners. The new TripIt Pro premium service for frequent travelers automatically monitors travel itineraries, providing mobile alerts, alternate flight options, frequent traveler point tracking and automated trip sharing.
TripIt was founded in San Francisco in October 2006 and launched in September 2007. The company has raised $13.1 million from investors that include O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV) and Azure Capital Partners. The TripIt co-founders are an experienced team of travel and technology executives:
Gregg Brockway, President – Former president of Classic Vacations (an Expedia company), and co-founder and chief product officer at Hotwire
Scott Hintz, VP Business Development– Former senior vice president of product at Hotwire, and strategy consultant at Accenture.
Andrew Denmark, VP Engineering – Former engineering director at Opsware, and chief technology officer at CityRealty.com.
At the heart of TripIt is the Itinerator, which automatically creates structured trip itineraries from the unstructured data in travel confirmation emails. It also aggregates related data from other websites to provide useful travel information, like weather, maps and directions. The Itinerator is an open technology platform that works with all major travel websites and all major email systems. TripIt's goal is to provide one place for all travel information, accessible whenever travelers need it.
TripIt has also been architected for social networking and includes many options for trip sharing and collaboration. Travelers can share trips with people inside and outside their TripIt Network, and post plans on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Closeness alerts tell travleers when their trips overlap with other people in their TripIt network. TripIt Company Groups tracks and shares the dates and locations of employee business travel, and TripIt for Google Apps has Company Groups and a several Google gadgets to help organizations and individual travelers manage their business trips.
TripIt has an open API that powers My Travel on LinkedIn and TripIt for Facebook Connect. Additionally, hundreds of developers use the API to intergrate TripIt with their web services and mobile apps.
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Traxo is the world’s most advanced personal travel organizer.
The free service automatically detects and aggregates travel information, including: itineraries, miles, points, and elite status, directly from over 200 different travel websites, and accepts travel confirmation emails from over 1,000 travel providers, organizing everything into a single, comprehensive travel dashboard -- essentially a next-gen Tripit or Mint.com for travel.
Traxo users become part of a smart, savvy online travel community and are rewarded with rich and informed social travel experiences. Conceived by founders Andres Fabris, Andy Chen and Richard Pendergast, Traxo’s executive team is comprised of business veterans with years of industry experience at companies such as Sabre and Travelocity.
For more information, please visit www.traxo.com.
Check out Splash NY Dec 2012 Winner, Traxo's presentation