Impala, a platform that serves up realtime data about hotel rooms, has raised $20 million from investors to accelerate its rapid expansion.
The new capital, which comes only four months after closing a successful $11 million Series A round, will allow the start-up to boost competition and consumer choice in the travel sector as it helps hotels to break out of clunky, outdated software systems.
The Series B round was led by Lakestar, whose invested into companies AirBnb, GetYourGuide, HomeToGo, Klarna, Spotify and Revolut, was joined by Latitude Ventures, the Series B+ sister fund to European VC firm LocalGlobe, known for investments in Transferwise, Zoopla, Monzo, Robinhood, TravelPerk and SecretEscapes.
Impala’s existing backers include Kima Ventures, the fund started by billionaire French telecoms entrepreneur Xavier Niel, and Stride.VC.
Impala is doing for hospitality what companies like Plaid – recently bought by Visa for $5.3 billion – have done for finance: creating a set of digital ‘pipes’ or ‘rails’ that seamlessly link businesses’ internal software to a wider ecosystem of products and apps. Impala’s current customers include Phillips and TripAdvisor; it is also working with more than 300 hotels, including Accor, Mercure and Hyatt-branded properties, and has a backlog of 3,500 hotels awaiting connection to its platform.
Ben Stephenson, Impala CEO and co-founder, said: “Just like the trend towards open banking, the hospitality sector needs solutions that are smart, responsive and can ‘talk’ to the world outside – unlike the siloed, old-school operating systems they’re saddled with at the moment.
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“Our technology hopes to become the standard that lets everyone communicate. By democratising access to hotel data, Impala will fundamentally change the way people book hotels and interact with the places they stay. We want to become the rails on which hotel travel runs.”
Christoph Schuh, partner at Lakestar, said: ‘Impala has the potential to become an important layer for the future of travel, a trillion-dollar industry. Impala has assembled an exceptional team with top talent from across the travel industry, and we’re delighted to support them on this next phase of their journey.
“This investment perfectly fits into our travel tech cluster, where we have done investments like AirBnB, GetYourGuide, HomeToGo, omio and others.”
Julian Rowe, partner at Latitude Ventures, added: ‘The Impala team is building a mission-critical, rich, connective layer in the vast hotel industry. Online travel was one of the earliest mass use-cases of the internet – yet the underlying infrastructure supporting it has barely evolved. Impala will enable hotels to establish deeper, more personalised relationships with travellers, helping them become better businesses.
“At the same time, Impala can support competition and unlock a new level of customer experience. Travellers stand to benefit hugely.’