GPI Capital buys stake in Hopper, pushing valuation to approximately $3.5bn

The PE firm bought a roughly 5% stake in the travel company, according to sources.

GPI Capital led a $175 million Series G round in Hopper, a mobile-only travel booking application, with an aim to scale its customer service capabilities while expanding into other products and markets through acquisitions.

The deal rationale was simple: Travel industry is witnessing a rebound and the company’s triple-digit growth in a challenging pandemic market was impressive, according to Khai Ha, managing partner at GPI Capital, now also a board member at Hopper.

Canada-based Hopper, much like other travel companies, had to reduce workforce and scale back its operations due to the pandemic. A large part of the round will be invested in automation tools, “so they are highly responsive to customer requests,” Ha said. The company will be hiring 500 employees, out of which 300 will be in customer services.

Hopper, at this time, has 39 open positions listed under customer service in Europe, Philippines, US and Canada.

In just March this year, the company raised $170 million in Series F funding led by Capital One Financial. According to sources, this round valued the company at $3.5 billion and saw participation from investors like Glade Brook Capital, WestCap, Goldman Sachs Growth and Accomplice.

New York–based GPI Capital reached out to Hopper earlier this year. “It was more about what’s the roadmap going forward,” Ha recalled.

Thereafter the travel app developers had proprietary discussions with GPI without the involvement of an adviser.

Hopper started off as a flight price predictor in early 2015 but since then has scaled to a fintech insurance and price-freeze solutions provider that helps users book hotel cars and flights with the flexibility of changing the itinerary at a later time.

“It can tell you when the price is going to rise, so you can put a deposit to freeze it and that releases a lot of anxiety around travelling,” Ha said.

The Canadian investors at GPI see the fintech products, bundled as Hopper Cloud, as a big plus. Case in point: Travel booking software, Amadeus, partnered with Hopper last month to integrate its Cancel for Any Reason along with Price freeze fintech products. These let passengers cancel flights 24 hours prior to departure and hold a price for 14 days, respectively.

Looking ahead, Hopper will look to acquire other travel, data science, or engineering-heavy startups. This will help the company enter other travel categories like home rentals as well as enter markets like Asia, Ha said.

Correction: The report has been updated to reflect the correct ownership of GPI in Hopper and Hopper’s future strategy.