Olset, which offers personalized recommendations for hotels, has raised $1.1 million of seed funding on a convertible note. This includes a $500,000 tranche that Tnooz previously reported.
The lead investor was Todd Kimmel from Montage Ventures. About half of the round came from Montage and Digital Garage, a firm that happens to also own the largest review site in Japan (4travel.jp).
Other investors include 500 Startups, Plug & Play Tech Ventures, XG Ventures, Principle Innovation, Merced Partners, and a number of angels.
Olset (pronounced “all set”) uses Big Data to pick the three best hotels for travelers. It detects when a traveler may have an upcoming trip and suggests three hotels based on either their preferences or their Expedia, Priceline, and Orbitz booking history.
Pilot with a "major travel brand"
The startup says that this week it will complete "phase two" of a three-phrase pilot of its services with a "large travel provider."
In the second phase, Olset categorized the provider's inventory for one country, to show how it could enrich the data and create user profiles based on the provider's historic data of past user actions.
During the next phase, the provider will go live with Olset-powered results, doing A/B tests to see if conversions improve.
Signs of growth
Olset claims it has more than doubled its conversion rates, month-over-month, to 2%, since February. It says it has had a 50% month-over-month growth in usage, which translates to a few hotel bookings a week.
One of its main partnerships is with personal assistant app Any.do, a partnership announced late last year and that went fully into effect in February.
The company says it will announce a partnership with another productivity app soon. Along the way, it says has categorized 10 million reviews and extracted 40 million "sentiments", i.e., consumer opinions.
Olset has seven full-time staff members, five of whom are technical.
The company has added to its advisory board Herve Sedky, formerly the senior vice-president and general manager for global business travel at American Express.
Other advisory board members include: Ellen Keszler, Evan Konwiser, Tom Romary, Giampiero Ambrosi, and Steve Bennett.