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Travel Goes Mobile: HotelTonight Raises $45 Million

hotel_tonight_app_logoA massive industry shift is underway: the $400 billion online travel industry (roughly 40% of the $1 trillion total travel market) is moving from desktop to mobile. Travel industry research firm analyst PhocusWright expects mobile travel sales to triple from 2012-2014 (reaching $25.8 billion) and research firm eMarketer projects will reach $48 billion in 2017 (see chart below).

Leading the charge in the $300 billion hotel industry is HotelTonight. Launched in 2010 by travel industry veterans Sam Shank , Jared Simon and Chris Bailey, HotelTonight has grown to become the #2 hotel travel app on the iOS app store and support millions of travelers in over 120 cities in 12 countries.

To continue its global expansion, the company today announced its $45 million Series D round of financing from Coatue Capital and GGV Capital, along with existing investors Accel Partners, Battery Ventures, USVP and First Round Capital.

emarketer travel

As tech media readers are probably tired of hearing, the global shift to mobile is massive, and is happening rapidly across many, many industries. Notable examples where new entrants have entered large existing industries, rapidly captured significant share and created billions in market value include (desktop leader on left, mobile innovator on right):

– Music: iTunes -> Spotify (private, est. $3B)

– Social: Facebook -> Instagram (acqu. by Facebook for $1B)

– Maps: Mapquest/Google -> Waze (acqu. by Google for $1.1B)

– Urban travel: Numerous -> Uber (private, est. $3.5B)

Consumers and the media are probably tiring of VC’s talking about this massive shift, but it’s hard to overstate. In almost every industry, analysts and CEOs are talking about the shift happening “faster than anticipated.” This is especially true when taking a global view (as we do), and take into consideration markets like China and India, where more than a billion consumers will experience the Internet for the first time on a mobile device over the next few years.

Mobile users want a mobile experience, not a web experience on a mobile device (for more on this, read Sara Lacy’s Pando article today). HotelTonight nails it with a great experience for both end users (I happen to be one – my favorites in SF via HotelTonight are the The Westin, Hotel Vitale and the Clift) and more than 3,000 hotel partner properties around the world.

With this new financing, HotelTonight will continue to expand on a global basis, an effort we are thrilled to help support. We’ve had a terrific window in the travel market in Asia via Qunar, China’s leading online travel site, and Tujia, the leading platform for home vacation rentals in China.

In short – great team, great product, huge market, massive disruptive shift underway. Very excited for Sam, Jared, Chris and the team at HotelTonight!

Edit @ 11:00 am PST: Here are are a few links to media coverage of HotelTonight’s announcement today:

TechCrunch: “HotelTonight Raises $45M with an eye on continued global expansion”

Financial Times: “HotelTonight finds room for $45M”

PandoDaily: “Will HotelTonight be the next big travel IPO?”

VentureBeat: “HotelTonight raises $45M to spread same-day booking around the world”

Skift: “Last-minute mobile booking app HotelTonight gets a big $45M round”

BusinessInsider: “HotelTonight raises $45M round”

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