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Room 77 Closes $10.5 Million Series B Round to Continue Innovation in Hotel SearchGeneral Catalyst Partners Leads Round; PAR Capital Management, Sutter Hill Ventures, Felicis Ventures and Other Angels Participate (June 09, 2011)
SUNNYVALE, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 06/09/11 -- Room 77, the world's first hotel search engine to reveal room-specific details, today announced it has secured $10.5 million in Series B financing. The round was led by General Catalyst Partners with participation from existing institutional and angel investors, including PAR Capital Management; Sutter Hill Ventures; Felicis Ventures; Rich Barton, founder of Expedia and co-founder of Zillow; and Erik Blachford, former CEO of IAC Travel. This brings the total amount the company has raised to date to $13.5 million.
Room 77, which officially launched in public beta in February, has assembled some of the world's best search engineers and travel experts to develop an innovative search platform that offers travelers a new way to shop and plan hotel stays. No other online travel site breaks down hotels by room number, including important details like square footage, bed type, distance from elevator and whether it's adjoining or not. Room 77's patent-pending technologies also rank rooms based on each traveler's preferences and simulate the actual view from the window of each room.
The new financing will help the company increase its proprietary index of hotel rooms globally and expand its core search platform to offer more ways to help travelers shop and book hotels online and via mobile devices.
"Room 77 has introduced a level of innovation to online travel that we haven't seen in years, and there are a number of opportunities for its search platform to fill critical gaps and enhance the shopping experience across the travel sector," said Joel Cutler, managing director of General Catalyst Partners, which was also an early investor in ITA Software and Kayak. "With their exceptional team and solid technology, Room 77 will fundamentally change how people search and book hotels. It unlocks some exciting possibilities for travelers and we look forward to helping realize the company's full vision."
"The first generation of hotel search focused on bringing hotels from offline to online. Our aim is take hotel search to the next level by empowering travelers with more information and transparency to find the right hotel and the best room," said Brad Gerstner, founder and chairman of Room 77. "We're pleased to have General Catalyst join our esteemed roster of existing investors -- all of whom have proven track records identifying innovative business models in early stages that ultimately become category leaders."
As a core asset to its search platform, the company is working to index every hotel room at every three- to five-star hotel and resort worldwide, which the company estimates to total approximately 25,000 properties. To date, the company has indexed more than 500,000 hotel rooms in 2,500 properties. Room 77 has been able to quickly scale its database through the efforts of its own team, by working directly with hotels and chains, such as Kimpton and Starwood, and through travelers who are helping to crowdsource room and property data through photos and reviews.
Room 77 currently has concentrated property and room data in 24 markets -- up from 16 at launch. These markets include: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, London (UK), Maui, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Orange County, Orlando, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Phoenix/Scottsdale, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose/Silicon Valley, Seattle, Vancouver (BC), and Washington, DC.
Room 77 is currently accessible via its website (www.room77.com) and iPhone app, providing hotel room data on-the-go and an easy tool for travelers to share details and photos about their own hotel room. The app is particularly useful while checking in at a hotel's front desk -- a traveler simply enters the room number offered by the clerk and Room 77 instantly advises whether to "take" or "leave" the room and presents alternate room suggestions. The iPhone app is also usable on the iPad and iPod touch. An Android app is expected to be released this summer.
Other early investors in Room 77 include Gerstner, Bob Pittman, founder of MTV, and Hugh Crean, former president and CEO of Farecast, among others. The Room 77 management team and board of directors have considerable experience in the travel and search industries, including senior-level engineering and management experience at Google, IAC Travel, Hotwire.com, Orbitz and Farecast/BingTravel.
About Room 77
Room 77 is the world's first hotel search engine to reveal data down to the room level, providing consumers with unprecedented detail about each guest room at thousands of three- to five-star properties. Its proprietary Room Rank algorithm scores every room, based on the traveler's preferences, and the virtual Room View simulates the actual view from each room through patent-pending mapping technology, helping travelers identify the best rooms for them. Currently accessible through the Web and its iPhone app, Room 77 is designed to go where travelers do and also offers tools and features that enable travelers to "sleuth" room data and help contribute to its growing database. Officially founded in 2009, Room 77 has raised $13.5 million to date from leading entrepreneurs and institutional investors, including: the company's founder Brad Gerstner, Rich Barton, Bob Pittman, Hugh Crean, PAR Capital Management, Sutter Hill Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, and Felicis Ventures, among others. For more information, visit the Room 77 blog or follow the company on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bestrooms) and Twitter (@Room_77).
About General Catalyst Partners
General Catalyst Partners is a venture capital firm that invests in exceptional entrepreneurs who are building the technology-based companies that will lead innovation and transform industries. Founded in 2000, General Catalyst Partners leverages its principals' extensive operational, business development and technological expertise to provide portfolio companies with a catalyst for success through business-building and partnership development assistance. For more information, please visit: http://www.generalcatalyst.com.
About PAR Capital Management
PAR Capital Management is a private investment partnership with over $2 billion in managed capital. The firm balances its large holdings in publicly traded securities with related private equity stakes in travel related industries and online media.
About Sutter Hill Ventures
Sutter Hill Ventures is a venture capital firm that finances technology-based start-up and early-stage companies that pioneer products or services in growth markets, especially those in information technology and health care. Founded in 1964, it is one of Silicon Valley's original venture capital firms. Some of the companies backed by Sutter Hill include: Network Appliance, Legato, Quantum, StorageTek, Data Domain, Alteon, Linear Technology, nVidia, and BroadVision. For more information about Sutter Hill Ventures, please visit www.shv.com.
About Felicis Ventures
Founded in 2006 by Aydin Senkut, Felicis Ventures is a super angel fund focused on supporting top technology entrepreneurs with capital, mentorship and connections. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Felicis Ventures' portfolio is comprised of leading mobile and consumer Internet companies. Recent exits include Aardvark (acquired by Google), GeoAPI (acquired by Twitter), Mint (acquired by Intuit), Milo (acquired by eBay), Mob.ly (acquired by Groupon), Mochi Media (acquired by Shanda Games), Plusmo (acquired by AT&T), Powerset (acquired by Microsoft) and Tapulous (acquired by Disney). For more information, visit http://www.felicisvc.com/.
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