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Room 77 Taps Google for an Exit Strategy of Sorts

@denschaal

Apr 07, 2014 2:48 pm

Skift Take

Expedia led the latest funding round of Room 77, but obviously didn’t view an outright acquisition as advantageous. Expedia already has Trivago, which doesn’t want to get distracted as it continues to grow and tear up Europe.

— Dennis Schaal

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Room 77 acknowledged last year that hotel metasearch was a lot harder to do than it first imagined.

Today it basically gave up on the business as a standalone site and licensed its hotel-search technology to Google.

Drew Patterson, Room 77 CEO, told Skift an unspecified number of its engineers, including CTO Calvin Yang, are transitioning over to Google effective today, and that the largest portion of Room 77′s remaining business will be its mobile check-in platform, Checkmate. Patterson will remain CEO, and the business will continue operating under the Room 77 brand, he said.

Although formally the Google transaction is not an acquisition, it effectively means Room 77′s future as a metasearch player is over.

Patterson said the licensing agreement with Google is not exclusive, and that Room 77 will continue to invest in its hotel metasearch technology.

No terms of the transaction were disclosed.

Google confirmed the deal, said some Room 77 employees will join Google, but decline to provide any additional detail.

Founded in 2010, and with nearly $44 million in funding from the likes of Expedia, Concur, General Catalyst Partners, and Sutter Hill Ventures, among others, Room 77 was never able to break out among consumers as it had to compete with more well-established brands such as Kayak and battle for ads with heavyweights like Booking.com.

Expedia was believed to have around a 30% stake in Room 77.

“We need to make sure the business is well-capitalized for our future opportunities,” Patterson said. “But, there will likely be cash in excess of that which gets returned to investors.”

In February, Skift published a story indicating that Room 77 seemed to be emphasizing CheckMate, which Room 77 acquired when Patterson came aboard as CEO, over the company’s core hotel-metasearch product.

The story was vehemently denied by Room 77 leadership.

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