Like many travel startups, Routehappy labored to find its way. Now it is onto something with its Routehappy Hub, although there will be larger competitors trying to tackle the same problem. Still, tough problems like this create opportunities.
Routehappy, which started out building a flight and onboard amenity rating system, secured $3.3 million in funding as it seeks to build partnerships with airlines and distributors to help carriers organize, track and display their myriad ancillary services.
New investor iNovia Capital led the venture financing round with participation from other newbies PAR Capital Ventures, Buddy Media founder Mike Lazerow and industry veterans Seth Brody, David Sandberg and Porter Gale.
Previous investors High Peaks Venture Partners, Contour Venture Parnters and Vocap Investor Partners also participated in the round, which brings Routehappy’s total funding to around $5.3 million.
Founded in 2011, Routehappy is seeking to capitalize on the complexities of airlines increasingly unbundling their products and services, with JetBlue being only the latest example.
Routehappy is promoting its Routehappy Hub, an SaaS platform that enables airlines to organize the attributes of of their ancillary products, create business rules to govern their use and to distribute them internally and to booking sites and ad agencies.
“It is a confounding and complicated thing to manage,” says Routehappy CEO Robert Albert. “It changes all the time, and it’s fragmented throughout the airline.”
Why would it be so difficult for an airline to organize and manage its own products?
Albert cites the following examples: “Wi-Fi is on certain tails in a subfleet but not others as an airline installs it. Fresh food is served during certain hours, sleep packs are offered during certain hours on certain routes, a new cabin product is available only on a certain subfleet, elite members get a free bag while others have to pay, the lounge at Gate D7 is recently renovated and the lounge at Gate C5 is showing signs of age, and the list goes on and on.”
Routehappy, which recently partnered with Expedia Inc. and New Zealand travel and expense management company Serko to offer its flight and amenity ratings, plans to use the new funding to further develop its Routehappy Hub and to expand its team.
Photo credit: Routehappy is trying to build a business around enabling airlines to better organize and manage their ancillary services. Pictured is the interior of Virgin Atlantic's 787-9 aircraft, called 'Birthday Girl.' Virgin Atlantic