SnapTravel, a Toronto-based message-driven and travel assistant company, has raised $21.2 million in Series A funding. New investors that joined this round include Telstra Ventures and NBA player Stephen Curry.
Through SnapTravel, consumers are able to book hotels by having conversations with an artificial intelligence based travel assistant. SnapTravel curates personalized hotel offers over messaging platforms like Facebook’s Messenger app and WhatsApp using a combination of machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), and manual efforts. SnapTravel is also compatible with SMS, iMessage, RCS, Viber, Slack, and Alexa.
Photo Credit: SnapTravel
“Online hotel booking is an incredibly transactional and noisy process, where pop-ups and expiring offers inundate consumers,” said SnapTravel co-founder and chief executive 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.”
Fazal previously launched AdParlor and sold it to AdKnowledge back in 2011. And SnapTravel co-founder Henry Shi previously built uMentioned and worked as an engineer at Google to launch YouTube Music Insights.
Since launching in 2016, SnapTravel had conversations with more than 2 million consumers across 150 countries to date. And SnapTravel is one of Facebook’s preferred partners for engineering message-driven brand experiences on Messenger and WhatsApp.
Liron Wand, the head of partnerships of Messenger at Facebook, said that the social network company is partnering with SnapTravel to create seamless experiences for Facebook users and design what “message-driven commerce looks like in the next five years.”
Telstra Ventures principal and lead consumer technology investor Yash Patel said that SnapTravel is at the intersection of two trends that the venture firm believes in: the growth of messaging-based commerce and the disruption of the travel market.
Curry facilitated his investment in the company via his investment, brand partnership, and media interest company called SC30, Inc. Bryant Barr, the president of SC30, said that SnapTravel is in a unique position to lead the entire e-commerce landscape by transforming how consumers make decisions online.