Miami-based Deal Engine,
an AI-enabled platform, has raised $5.3 million in seed funding to expand
globally and accelerate engineering, product and sales.
The round was led by F-Prime Capital with participation from
Thayer Ventures, PAR Capital Management, Plug and Play and several angel
Deal Engine’s platform automates refund and change
operations for airlines, online travel agencies and travel management companies.
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Alex Jara, the company’s CEO, says: “Deal Engine’s
technology enables travel companies to simplify complex manual processes,
saving millions of human hours each year.”
Of the 4.5 billion passengers carried by airlines each year,
approximately 10% of tickets are either refunded or changed, “representing
unnecessary time and cost for both travelers and travel companies alike,” according
to the company.
A request through Deal Engine’s dashboard or application
programming interface (API) prompts its AI-enabled platform to process airline
transactions from a single point.
Integrations with global distribution and
settlement systems such as Sabre, Amadeus, Travelport, BSPLink and ARC enable
Deal Engine to automatically execute thousands of refunds and changes each day.
“Post-booking transactions are painful and expensive for
travelers and companies given limited transparency, complex fare rules,
multiple participating parties and costly call center support,” Gaurav
Tuli, partner at F-Prime Capital, says.
Deal Engine’s “ability to streamline the entire process
means travelers don’t have to wait hours on the phone or website when their
Nellie Reid, head of digital transformation at Expertia
Travel, a South American tourism company, says that prior to adopting Deal
Engine, Expertia Travel’s team had to manually identify in which system the
ticket was issued, then review each part of the fare components to find out if
the change or refund could be accepted, and calculate the penalties or
“In the best scenario, each transaction could take around 20
minutes, once an agent takes it,” Reid says. “You can add the waiting time in
the queue that our clients have to suffer, that can be up to one day for
changes and two days for refunds.”
Now, with Deal Engine’s automation, “no matter which GDS or
which airline, it takes around 30 seconds,” Reid says.
Expertia started using Deal Engine’s solutions in the middle
of the pandemic - they needed to refund 15,000 tickets.
“To give you an idea, this would take five full-time
employees (FTEs) six months to process them,” Reid says. “Deal Engine came back
two days later with all the refunds correctly calculated, and zero FTEs where
An Expedia report last year found that across travel segments, travelers value full refunds or enhanced cleaning above all other considerations.
Aeropaye automates the processing of refunds for delayed or cancelled flights.