The Canadian travel tech industry keeps taking off.
SnapTravel has raised $17.6 million ($13.2 million USD) in a second tranche of funding, adding on to their $10.7 million ($8 million USD) original Series A. This newest addition to the round was led by Telstra Ventures as well as star NBA player Stephen Curry. The first tranche was led by iNovia Capital.
Based in Toronto, SnapTravel is a hotel booking travel assistant, helping users book accommodations over SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger, Slack and even through voice. Through the use of natural language processing and machine learning capabilities, SnapTravel can work with users to book hotels through the platforms and mediums they are most familiar with.
“Online hotel booking is an incredibly transactional and noisy process, where pop-ups and expiring offers inundate consumers,” said co-founder and CEO Hussein Fazal. “We are reimagining this experience – making booking hotels feel as natural and personal as talking to a friend. Beyond travel, we’re at the start of a shift in which consumers no longer shop on individual websites or apps, but entirely via conversations with brands.”
Since being founded in 2016, SnapTravel has had conversations with more than two million users spread throughout 150 countries. With this kind of user base, the company has become a preferred partner when it comes to curating messenger-first experiences within Facebook and its ecosystem of apps.
“Conversational commerce is an area of immense opportunity and interest for us, and the level of consumer adoption that SnapTravel has achieved in this space so far is extraordinary,” said Liron Wand, head of partnerships for Messenger at Facebook. “This is not only a unique approach to booking hotels, but also a new outlook on commerce as a whole. We’re partnering with SnapTravel to create seamless experiences for Facebook users today, and design what message-driven commerce looks like in the next five years.”
SnapTravel sits at the intersection of disruption within the travel industry—just look at companies like Plusgrade to see how massive that can be—and the exponential growth of voice and message-based commerce. More customers want to buy through the mediums they use everyday, so SnapTravel allows them to use that kind of interface.
“This is an area where many incumbents have yet to successfully leverage the growing shift in consumer purchase behavior from offline, web, and mobile apps to messaging and voice,” said Yash Patel, principal and lead consumer technology investor at Telstra Ventures.