Utrip Closes $4M In Latest Round Of Funding
The travel-planning platform reveals new clients and appointments of a new COO, Chris Manderino, and former Expedia CFO Michael Adler to board of directors
Seattle, Wash., Feb. 20, 2017 – Utrip, a free travel-planning platform that brings together the best in artificial intelligence and human experience, announced today it closed $4M in Series A.
The funding allows Utrip to continue the company's incredible momentum from 2016 with fantastic growth in clients, talent and operations to maintain its impressive 100 percent customer retention over the last three years amongst its now over 50 partners, including Starwood Hotels and Holland America Line. The investment will further enhance mobile applications for end users, enrich the company's machine learning capabilities and achieve automation of white label infrastructure.
The majority of financing was raised with notable partners from Seattle and Silicon Valley across the venture capital, technology and hospitality industries. Backers include Plug and Play, Tiempo Capital, Acorn Ventures, SWAN Venture Fund and W&W Capital. Angel investors encompass Apple, Inc. Treasurer Gary Wipfler; Costco CFO Richard Galanti; Savers Inc. CEO Ken Alterman; H. S. Wright III, CEO and founder of Seattle Hospitality Group as well a partner in family businesses that own the Seattle Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Sheraton Seattle Hotel; veteran hotel executive Carla Murray; hotelier Craig Schafer and Neal Dempsey, a partner at Bay Partners.
Utrip creates personalized day-by-day itineraries for travelers with recommendations on restaurants, parks, nightlife, museums, and more. The itinerary is personalized to best suit each traveler, such as foodies seeking to eat like a local with recommendations from the city's top chefs, or adventure lovers wanting to discover the city's thrills based on suggestions from local outdoor enthusiasts.
"Today's travelers expect local connections and richer experiences," said Gilad Berenstein, founder and chief executive officer of Utrip. "By emphasizing personalization and discovery for every phase of the travel lifecycle with our advanced artificial intelligence, Utrip allows its partners to be an integral digital companion for travelers in a way that seamless and economical for airlines, cruise lines and hotels to destination marketing organizations to points of interest."
As the company continues to focus on the B2B travel space, Utrip is building an impressive network of advisors and executive leadership. Former Expedia CFO Michael Adler was recently appointed to the company's board of directors. He brings exceptional credentials and financial expertise within the travel sector. COO Chris Manderino joined Utrip in early February to lead overall operations encompassing revenue, partner relations, marketing and talent management. Manderino brings a decade of dynamic leadership experience in the travel and technology industries with an expertise in programs that drive scalable revenue and maximize partner retention. Utrip also recently welcomed Matt Hulett, previously a product and sales leader at Expedia, as a business advisor to the brand.
In addition to its newly secured funding and business advisors, Utrip recently bolstered its portfolio to over 50 clients with the additions of destination marketing organizations, Music City and Ski City, in Nashville and Salt Lake City respectively, and Fisherman's Wharf, one of San Francisco's top points of interest.
"Travel is our business and Utrip understands our travelers value tailored experiences," said Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. Deana Ivey, Chief Marketing Officer. "With Utrip's trip planning technology, our visitors are empowered to create their own itineraries for the best of Nashville's music, food, fashion and fun. "