Episode 1 Ventures and Notion Capital backs Triptease

Travel booking site Triptease has secured $2 million in seed funding. The investors were Episode 1 Ventures and Notion Capital.


(London) Thursday 19 February 2015: Travel SaaS start-up Triptease has closed a seed investment round worth $2m, with joint participation from two leading venture capital firms, Episode 1 Ventures and Notion Capital.

Triptease was founded in 2013 to reduce travel booking anxiety. In the midst of booking a family holiday, Co-Founder, Charlie Osmond, experienced the joy of his trip being marred by the painful planning process. “The average person visits 38 websites searching through online opinions and the best rates. For half of us[1], an experience that starts out full of excitement ends up with feelings of doubt over making the right choice and getting the best price,” he said.

The successful entrepreneur and his team spent three months working from the lobbies of London hotels, interviewing travellers and hotel staff. They found that many of the tactics such as fluctuating and disappearing rates used by third parties create angst and uncertainty when booking. These, along with high commission fees, have been distorting an industry set to be worth US$830bn by 2017[2].

“What many people don’t realise is that booking direct with hotels cuts angst and is beneficial for both sides. Travellers get better guarantees and better service. Some hoteliers we spoke to actively upgrade direct bookers to thank them for not using a third party – hardly surprising given the millions of dollars they now have to spend on commissions for other bookers. It’s a total win-win”, added Mr Osmond.

Triptease has developed a range of digital tools that improve the relationship between hotels and guests. With partners including Trump Soho, Rosewood Hotels and the Shangri-La Hotel Dubai, the new round of funding will be used to expand sales & marketing and to advance product development. The company recently launched Price Check, a smart widget that sits on hotel websites and displays prices from across the web in real-time. It reduces uncertainty surrounding a hotel’s direct price, saving consumers research time and giving them the confidence to book direct. Beta tests showed direct bookings jump 60% and the company is now focussed on rolling it out to more hotels worldwide.

“Triptease has established itself as a leader in innovating new and powerful ways for hoteliers to drive direct bookings”, said Chris Tottman, Partner, Notion Capital. “They’ve identified a pain point in the industry and are working to plug a technical gap that is growing between hotels and online travel agents. Triptease is a great example of the type of founder-led, capital-efficient SaaS business that we like to invest in,” he added.

Simon Murdoch, partner at Episode 1 Ventures and an early investor in Betfair, LoveFilm, Shazam and Zoopla, commented: “We have a particular penchant for SaaS businesses that create value by improving the consumer experience. Triptease fits that category perfectly and operates in a large and global market, so we see very significant potential for upside.”

About Triptease
Triptease (www.triptease.com) is a SaaS company that builds digital tools that create better experiences and relationships between hotels and guests. These products include Triptease Magazine, a travel reviews app, Digital Postcards, an in-stay social media referrals tool and Price Check, a widget for hoteliers to encourage travellers to book directly.

The company was co-founded by Charlie Osmond, UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year and member of The British Airways Business Advisory Board, Alasdair Snow, named in TTG’s Tomorrow’s Travel Leaders 30 under 30, and Alexandra Zubko, former Head of Strategy at Intercontinental Hotels Group and winner of IHIF Young Person Leader Award.

About Episode 1 Ventures
Episode 1 Ventures is a software-only venture capital firm that invests £250k to £1m in early-stage, revenue-generating startups and plays an active and supportive role in turning them into growth businesses. With experience of startups from the inside, it provides frank and fast feedback to founders as well as strong entrepreneurial ‘know-how’ and a passion for building successful businesses.

About Notion Capital
Notion Capital is an entrepreneur-backed venture capital firm focused on high potential businesses in the Cloud Computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) markets. The Notion partners have unique expertise and experience in the Cloud Computing market having founded, built and exited two highly successful businesses in the space – Star and MessageLabs. Companies within Notion’s portfolio include AdBrain, Brightpearl, Duedil, Idio, NewVoiceMedia, Shopa, Glow, The Currency Cloud and Tradeshift. Learn more at http://www.notioncapital.com.