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Hipmunk is hoping that the funding will help it avoid the fate of Room 77, which also struggled to break out of the pack, and withdrew. Hipmunk is going to keep at it for awhile, but it has a tough road ahead of it given well-funded competitors such as Kayak, TripAdvisor, Google, and Trivago.
Travel metasearch player Hipmunk has raised $20 million in Series C financing with Oak Investment Partners leading the round.
In the past, Hipmunk CEO Adam Goldstein has said that the company had plenty of money, had the ability to choose between profitability and growth from its early days, and didn’t need to raise additional funding.
“We didn’t need new funding,” Goldstein tells Skift. “We found a partner that was willing to help us make the most of the (mobile) opportunity, who knew the space well, and now we’re going to pour fuel on the fire.”
Hipmunk, which previously raised around $20 million, said it plans to use the additional funding to enhance its multi-platform device strategy, for hiring, customer acquisition and new partnerships.
Hipmunk now finds itself in the ranks of the relatively heavily funded travel startups as it seeks to break out of the pack, a goal that it hasn’t been able to fulfill to date.
The difficulty in doing that was punctuated by the latest U.S. paid search statistics from Adgooroo, which found that the same top 10 travel companies that led paid search in the U.S. in 2012 also led paid search in 2013, with no newcomers breaking into the leadership.
Hipmunk, founded in 2010, was not among those top 10, although rivals TripAdvisor, Kayak, Booking.com, Expedia.com and Hotels.com were.
With the new funding, Ren Riley, general partners of Oak Investment Partners joins the Hipmunk board. Also participating in the round were existing angel investors, Institutional Venture Partners and Ignition Partners.
It remains to be seen how aggressive Hipmunk will become in its customer-acquisition goals. Does that mean a heavier presence in paid search or does it portend Hipmunk’s first offline, TV advertising campaign, as well?
Goldstein says, “We’re focused on mobile, not TV.”
But, can Hipmunk hope for any success without taking to the airwaves in light of the heavy TV campaigns and hyper-competition under way from the likes of Kayak, Trivago, Booking.com, Hotwire, Priceline, Expedia and TripAdvisor?
“The winners in the next generation of travel will be the companies that can do the best job serving all user needs, across all platforms,” Hipmunk CEO and co-founder Goldstein said. “Oak’s travel and mobile experience make them a tremendous addition to our existing investment team and an ideal partner.”