Seattle-based Dealscoopr describes itself as a "travel deals discovery engine".
The site takes a user's personal preferences, social profile, location, and other signals to offer customized search results for flights and hotels and to email the user relevant travel deals out there.
The bootsrtapped startup has two co-founders: Nitesh Goyal, who was engineering lead for Amazon mobile payments and seller recommendations, and Nischal Pathania, who was a program manager working on sort algorithms which powered hotel sort for all Expedia brands worldwide.
On April 3, DealScoopr launched its "Personalized Flight Deal Search" powered by metasearch site Skyscanner. Filip Filipov, head of B2B at SkyScanner, says:
“Skyscanner is pleased to be working with DealScoopr, integrating our flights API into their innovative consumer offering.
It is thrilling to see the industry we helped innovate more than a decade ago evolve, and DealScoopr is a perfect example of this evolution, helping to make the trip planning process even more convenient.”
Dealscoopr created this Vine to illustrate their company's pitch:
Q&A with Nischal Pathania, co-founder.
Tell us how you founded the company, why and what made you decide to jump in and create the business.
We both loved to travel but felt most travel sites did a poor job in knowing what the customer wants. Most of the deals shown to users on travel sites and in marketing emails are too generic to peek anyone’s interest.
We decided to combine our experiences from Amazon and Expedia to create personalization algorithms which utilize your trip preferences, social data (friends' travel related posts), and tens of other signals to curate flight and hotel deals for each individual user.
Why should people or companies use the business?
Instead of multiple flight searches, users can use DealScoopr to get the best deals in a single view before even doing a search. This will tell them what is the best time to fly.
This becomes even more relevant when they don’t have a specific destination in mind. Our goal is not only to inspire users to travel, but also provide them the best money saving options in one view.
Compared to sites like Travelzoo, users will be able to see specific airfares from their home airport to relevant destinations, rather than a listing of ads from various airlines.
What problem does the business solve?
Travel is fun but planning it is hard. Travelers spend a lot of time doing multiple searches to find the best flight deals. Most travel sites and airlines offer teaser rates to rope you in or show you deals that you may not actually care about.
DealScoopr solves this by instantly analyzing and intelligently filtering tens of thousands of airfares based on the traveler’s preferences.
How did the initial idea evolve and were there changes in the early stages?
Initially we focused on showing users how they could save money on visiting their friends. We found that this was solving only part of the problem.
We then expanded it to allowing users to set their trip preferences and used social signals to further recommend interesting places their friends were travelling to. Our core offering is still matching our users with the most relevant travel deals.
What is the strategy for raising awareness and the customer/user acquisition?
We have already seen pretty healthy organic growth and have served thousands of users. We were recently featured on Mashable as one of 10 startups making travel more affordable.
When a new user signs up with DealScoopr, we recommend them to follow friends who they are close to.
This lets them see their friends travel updates (travel photos & check-ins) and also get deals to places they have recently traveled. We have seen quite a bit of growth through this. Most new users follow 10-15 friends.
So far we have offered Facebook-only sign up but we are soon launching e-mail registration as well.
We are also investing in search engine marketing (SEM) to drive new users to the site and are seeing very good conversion as well. But our main focus remains to build a product that delights our users.
Where do you see the company in three years time and what specific challenges do you anticipate having to overcome?
In 3 years time we would like our brand to be the goto place for users looking to save money without the frustration of searching multiple sites.
Our challenges would be to create brand awareness in a market with well established players and at the same time invest in users growth.
We are seeking early-stage investment.
Estimation of market size?
US online travel market is upwards of $100 billion. We are looking to cater to the tech savvy travelers that is looking to save money.
We'll be competing against traditional online travel agencies that are looking closely at personalization.
Revenue model and strategy for profitability?
We make money on commissions for flight and hotel referrals.
What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?
Online travel sites tend to be transaction heavy and do a fairly good job at allowing you to book when you know where & when to go. But figuring out what the best deals are and which users will find them relevant is a big data problem, this is exactly where we are innovating and have built our expertise in.
What other technology company would you consider yourselves most closely aligned to in terms of culture and style... and why?
We admire Amazon’s customer focus and always believe in doing what is best for the user. Given our Amazon/Expedia backgrounds, we engineer our products to be high performance and scalable.
DealScoopr has two founders with technical backgrounds. The obvious question is whether they can compliment their skills with marketing expertise from others.
The business development advice of Holger Luedorf of location-recommendation service Foursquare may be particularly helpful.
Charlie O'Donnell of First Round Capital has written well about the challenges of business development for startups.
And Adam Goldstein, co-founder of flight and hotel search tool Hipmunk, shared many insights in his piece "Things I wish I had known when starting Hipmunk.