Boston Continues to be a Hub for Travel Tech, Thanks to These 7 Startups

November 23, 2016

With Thanksgiving happening this week, the holiday travel season has officially begun — which serves as a great opportunity to remind ourselves of all the startups and established companies that are working on travel tech in the Boston area.

In helping Boston establish itself as a travel tech hub, startups have older tech companies like TripAdvisor, Kayak and ITA to thank — with the latter two being acquired by Priceline and Google, respectively.

Paul English, the co-founder of Kayak who’s working on his new startup, Lola Travel, told me these big three companies helped the Boston area breed tech talent that is specifically geared towards travel. He added that they also helped entrepreneurs “think about travel as a vertical to pursue.”

This has led to a number of travel tech startups being launched in the past few years, Lola included. Other travel tech startups in the Boston area include bus booking service Wanderu, flight rebooking app Freebird and cheap flights alert app Hopper.

Ethan Bernstein, CEO and co-founder at Freebird, pointed out a similar challenge.

“Travel is a large, complex, and mature industry — and unfortunately most who are new to the industry fail to internalize how many challenges that presents,” he said. “It is rare for a startup without employees who have travel experience and connections to make a splash.” However, he added, “thankfully there is a lot of business, tech, and data science talent in Boston that has travel experience.”

As far as the opportunities that exist for startups working in travel, Bernstein said “the sky is the limit,” pointing to travel as a $1 trillion-plus industry “built on old technology.” He added, “There are a lot of opportunities, but a lot of entrenched players as well.”

With that, here are some of the travel startups helping put Boston on the map:

Freebird

Freebird launched its service last fall that instantly rebooks your flight if it gets canceled, delayed or if you miss your connecting flight. It recently announced a partnership with Corporate Traveler, a brand of Australian travel giant Flight Centre Travel Group that manages business travel programs for small- to medium-sized enterprises.  The startup has raised $3.5 million from General Catalyst, Slow Ventures, Accomplice and angel investors.

Read full article about Freebird and the travel tech hub in Boston at BostInno