Israeli travel tech startup Hotelmize raises Series B from Alibaba, opens APAC headquarters in Hong Kong

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Dor Krubiner, Omry Litvak and Guy Levitan

Hotelmize, developer of AI-based price prediction and profit-optimisation technologies for the hotel booking industry, is raising its B round investment largely in the Asia Pacific to expand service offerings, accelerate company growth, and capture the long-term promise of the region’s tourism industry.

The Israel-based company also announced establishing its APAC headquarters in Hong Kong as a gateway to APAC and China. This financing round is led by the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and Israeli-based Brilliance Ventures.

Named one of the most promising travel tech startups for 2020 by Phocuswright, it has developed proprietary technology that allows travel companies to increase their bottom-line profit by over 30% through streamlining and automating their procurement processes.

Inspired by algorithmic trading in global capital markets, the start up’s AI-based technology monitors the fluctuations in prices of hotel rooms from the placing of a reservation through to the vacation date and trades the rooms the same way that algorithms trade stock in the capital markets. Room prices change dynamically, similar to options or warrants, which also come with expiry dates.

The company’s algorithms utilise investment strategies, similar to financial markets’ ‘short’ and ‘long’ positions, buying and selling hotel rooms in a completely automated manner to generate additional profits that were not previously available for travel or hotel companies.

To date, it has handled over USD 2 billion of reservations and has created over USD 100 million worth of transactions for its customers including some of the leaders of the global tourism industry. The attention the company attracted over the past year did not go unnoticed by Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund which decided to invest in the current round and adds to the USD 5 million raised previously from Investible VC from Australia and its anchor investor, Talma Tourism.

Founded in 2016 by Dor Krubiner, Omry Litvak and Guy Levitan, it employs over 20 people in the Tel Aviv headquarters and has four more sales offices in London, Bangkok, Buenos Aires and Mallorca. Additional investors in the round included Israel-based VC fund Brilliance Ventures, which invests in growth-stage companies with market-potential in Asia.

“The tourism industry is one of the most-competitive industries worldwide. Unlike others, travel industry players are offering highly similar products, which makes it exceptionally difficult to differentiate from their competition,” said Dor Krubiner, CEO of Hotelmize. “The adoption of advanced technologies as we offer is a sure way for travel and tourism organisations to keep their edge. In the coming years, we will see travel industry players transform themselves from ‘commercial enterprises’ into ‘technology enterprises’. The demand for advanced data-driven intelligent solutions is already growing at a rapid pace.”

“The international hotel business is a huge market, and we always look for cutting-edge technology to improve industry efficiency. Hotelmize has proven its value to clients and the team has demonstrated strong implementation capability,” said Cindy Chow, executive director of the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund.

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