Skift Take

The acquisition of Smooss clearly wasn't a budget buster for Hopper, but it could be another piece in the unglamorous behind-the-scenes tech effort to smooth the way for distribution deals with airlines.

Hopper acquired Paris-based technology startup Smooss in a bid to further the online travel agency’s plans to sell fintech products directly to airlines, and picked up an Air France-KLM partnership in the process.

Air France-KLM is among four Smooss partners, and the airline uses the startup’s tech to help passengers deal with disrupted flights.

Founded in 2019 and currently having a staff of eight, Smooss counts Air France-KLM and Corsair among its partners. Smooss helps airlines and other companies boost ancillary revenue, provides alternatives to travelers when their flights get disrupted, and can tie into airlines’ reservations systems.

Hopper, of course, hopes to deepen the partnership with Air France-KLM, perhaps along the lines of some of its existing fintech deals with Capital One, Amadeus, Kayak, Trip.com, Marriott, and MakeMyTrip..

“Smooss technology will enhance Hopper’s ability to offer its fintech products to airlines directly since Smooss’ fulfillment is processed directly in the partner’s Passenger Service System for a streamlined flow,” a Hopper spokesperson said.

The acquisition fits into Hopper’s drive to expand its distribution capabilities.

Smooss eight employees, and hasn’t disclosed any funding.

“Joining the team to enhance our existing partnerships with Hopper’s scale and technological abilities, was an easy decision for us,” said Benjamin Lalanne, co-founder and CEO of Smooss in a statement. “We are excited to bring our expertise in the airline industry and revenue generation to Hopper and help airlines from around the world tap into Hopper’s revolutionary fintech capabilities.”

Hopper has made several acquisitions over the last couple of years, including PlacePass last year.

With a $5 billion private valuation, Hopper offers travelers and partners fintech products such as price freeze and cancel for any reason, in a addition to selling flights, hotels, and short-term rentals.

Hopper and Smooss have already closed on the deal. Hopper didn’t disclose terms of the deal, nor revenue or profit/loss figures for the startup it acquired.

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Tags: air france, air france-klm, airlines, ancillary revenue, ancillary services, corsair, distribution, fintech, flights, hopper, mergers, mergers and acquisitions, partnerships, smooss, startups, travel startups, travel tech

Photo credit: The first Air France airliner's Airbus A350 prepares to take off after a ceremony at the aircraft builder's headquarters in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, September 27, 2019. Hopper acquired a startup that is an Air France-KLM partner. Regis Duvignau / Reuters