To date, Hopper has aggregated half a billion webpages in the travel vertical and has pulled out structured content to create its very large travel database. And that number is set to reach over a billion pages by year-end 2012.
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Hopper’s goal is to bring structure to the immense amount of travel data scattered all across the web, so that when people plan trips they won’t have to know exactly what they’re looking for or consult a dozen different travel websites to accomplish their task.
Unlike the big brand names in online travel, Hopper won’t sell airline tickets or book hotel rooms. Instead, it will build a site where users can find out about hotels or faraway destinations, based on the millions of pieces of travel data that are scattered across the Web.
It’s a big day for big data. One of the local flag-bearers of the field has raised a sizable venture round as it prepares to unveil its online travel product to the world.
For a start-up, Hopper believes that to fix the user experience, first there is a need to fix the data. Hopper is built on NoSQL technology, which means it doesn’t have a rigid data schema, and it can scale out easily to store hundreds of millions, even billions of records.
Hopper, a Montreal, Canada-based startup, has raised $8 million in fresh funding from Atlas Venture and previous backer Brightspark Ventures to try and ‘reinvent travel search’.
Montreal-based Hopper wants to make searching for travel options a more complete experience using big data tools, and it has raised another $8 million to do it.
What we do know about Hopper’s product is that it won’t be focused on finding prices and itineraries for folks who already know where they want to go and what they want to do. Rather, Hopper will accept natural language queries from users and return a list of destinations and travel options accordingly.
With $8 million in new funding from Atlas Venture and Brightspark Ventures, travel startup Hopper hopes to continue building its own servers and to bridge the travel inspiration gap. “To us, it’s a little baffling that it hasn’t happened yet,” says Frederic Lalonde, Hopper CEO, referring to attempts to cross what he terms the “inspiration chasm.”
The “big data” trend is finding its way into many verticals, including travel, where Montreal-based start-up Hopper Inc. plans to use an $8 million Series B round and cluster computing techniques to build the world’s largest database of travel information.
It’s a more open-ended, “discovery” type of search than what has become standard on itinerary comparison sites like Kayak, Bing Travel, Orbitz, and newer sites like Hipmunk, InsideTrip, WaySavvy, and Yapta.
Montreal-born travel website Hopper has confirmed reports it has received $8 million in new funding from Atlas Venture and Brightspark Ventures, and is looking to relocate to the Greater Boston area.
Hopper is a discovery engine for travel. Which means that it’s a search engine totally dedicated to the inspiration and planning of trips.
“We’re interested in adding inspirational stuff, like the best restaurants to try for a particular kind of food, the best places to golf in the Mediterranean, or to see the running of the bulls.
If the future of travel search is something like Hopper, and if Google has something like this in mind for its ITA Software acquisition, then opponents of the deal may have more to worry about than they realize.