We are super excited today to announce additional investment into SnapTravel bringing our total Series A funding to $21.2MM USD.
This was a unique situation as we were not looking to raise new funding, but had a long-standing relationship with Yash Patel at Telstra Ventures who was excited to get involved and aggressively pursued the deal. The first time we discussed SnapTravel with him was during a 2016 Golden State Warriors playoff game in San Francisco. Coincidentally, 2+ years later Yash invested in us and introduced us to several strategic investors including Stephen Curry!
Stephen Curry (SC30) — Stephen Curry is an NBA superstar (3x NBA champion, 2x MVP, 5x All-Star). This investment was made through SC30, Inc. (the company that manages Curry’s investment, brand partnership, media and philanthropic interests). SC30 is run by Bryant Barr — his long-time friend and business partner. SnapTravel is their third investment ever.
Driving Commerce over Messaging
The consumer trend towards messaging is here. There are 149.8MM mobile messaging app users in the US, 2 billion globally, and these numbers continue to grow. Consumers spend a disproportionate amount of time on messaging apps vs non-messaging apps.
In addition to chatting with family and friends, consumers expect that they can chat with businesses within their favorite messaging app. Businesses are starting to catch up with over 300,000 active bots on the Facebook Messenger Platform, and 8 Billion messages exchanged between people and businesses every month.
However, there is still a long way to come. Consumers will proactively look to chat with businesses over messaging when they are confident the business they are looking for will provide a rich conversational experience. Businesses will invest in chat when there are enough consumers looking for them on these channels. Building up this ‘marketplace’ takes time, but something that will inevitably happen. As interactions between consumers and brands grow over messaging channels, the logical extension will be to enable customers to conduct commerce as well.
For most companies, driving commerce over messaging is the future. For SnapTravel, it is the now!
SnapTravel allows customers to book great hotel deals over conversational interfaces. The majority of our traffic and booking volume comes from messaging interfaces such as SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Apple Business Chat. We also continue to innovate in the voice space, building unique integrations with Amazon Alexa and re-thinking how voice can work in conjunction with visual devices. Here are some quick SnapTravel stats:
- Over 2 million users have had a conversation with SnapTravel in the past 2 years.
- Customers from 150+ countries have booked a hotel on SnapTravel — SnapTravel customers have booked over 350,000 nights at 35,000 different hotels across 5,800 cities
- SnapTravel has driven over $50MM USD in sales in 2018 over messaging. 450% growth from 2017!
Despite the success we have had in 2018, we are barely scratching the surface of the $500 billion hotel booking industry. We have aggressive growth targets for 2019 and will continue to establish our leadership position with this new funding.
Stephen Curry & Building a Brand
Travel is one of the most competitive industries to build a consumer brand with the major players spending billions on marketing annually. As a startup in this space, it is impossible to compete dollar for dollar with these brands. Enter strategic investor Stephen Curry.
Athletes and celebrities can produce an outsized impact and an unfair advantage when building a brand.
- Associating Stephen with SnapTravel instantly creates a sense of trust and confidence in a consumer’s mind when deciding whether to use SnapTravel or a brand they are more familiar with.
- Access to Stephen’s 12.9M Twitter followers and 23M Instagram followers attracts consumer attention in a way that most brands can only dream about.
- Having Stephen spend time at our office in Toronto creates buzz, excitement, and gives our recruiting team some extra ammunition.
- Finally, Stephen Curry is an international brand. His reach and influence is global. This lines up with our ambition to build a global brand.
Stephen — glad to have you join the SnapTravel team! We can’t wait for your fans to try out SnapTravel!