Skift Take

Dosh says it has 55 people working on letting travelers earn cash back on the money they spend on business trips, while Hoperator has debuted to bring AI tools to hotel chat. Each has promise.

Each week we round up travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. The total raised this week was more than $8 million.

>>Dosh completed its seed round by raising an additional $7 million. Investors include Goodwater Capital.

This round brings the total it has raised to $13.5 million. Past investors have included Extol Capital and angel investor Alex Ok.

The Austin, Texas-based company’s pitch is that it lets a person book work-related travel on their corporate card but get cash back on their personal card. The app also works for other retail purchases unrelated to travel.

Travelers have to book through the app to get the cash back. Amounts of reward vary. Some recent deals included 5 percent of the purchase price back on Avis rental car rentals, and 18 percent back on the value of Ritz hotel stays.

On the plus side, the app credits your credit or debit card without requiring promo codes or mail-in rebates.

On the down side, it has not signed up as many travel merchants yet as it touts, according to Skift checks of the app for use in New York and Philadelphia. It’s unclear what merchants get out of participating other than a promise of data sharing. Merchants risk cannibalizing existing sales unless deals result in incremental business.

The company says it is giving the user interface a re-design “as the current offering can make it hard to find more offers.” To find travel offers on the home screen go to “Travel,” and enter destination and dates.

Dosh, which says it has 55 full-time employees, only has deals in the U.S. card-link offers on Dosh are all for restaurants

>>Hoperator is a messaging service provider for travel companies that has received a Series A round of funding from artificial intelligence software company Veteran Technology Group.

The St. Louis, Missouri-based company provides live chat to hotels, hostels, B&Bs, tour operators and vacation rental owners.

Founded in December 2015, the company has tested its product for hotels and hostel in Venice, Italy, relying on $250,000 in angel investment.

Co-founder Chris Douglas says, “aside from partnership integrations and more robust analytics, we’re working on developing our AI, we’re adding integrations with Facebook Messenger, Skype, SMS, email, etc. so that hotels can use Hoperator to manage all of their communication channels. We’re also working with a partner to allow a business to chat with visitors on an OTA’s website.”

Check out our previous startup funding roundups, here.

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Tags: funding, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: Dosh's app debuted in the Apple App store in April 2017. Some of the team poses for a celebratory picture here. Dosh

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