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Next Jump Acquires FlightCaster, The Flight Delay Prediction Engine

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Back in July 2009 we wrote about a Y Combinator-funded startup called FlightCaster that looks to help you predict flight delays — before the airline even tells you about them. The service looks at air traffic, weather, and a variety of other factors to predict these delays, and the early warning can be very helpful if you need to book a different flight.

Today, the startup is announcing that it’s been acquired by Next Jump, a large company that powers reward programs for 90,000 companies, including MasterCard’s MarketPlace. That seems like a strange fit given FlightCaster’s original mission, but things make a bit more sense when you look at what FlightCaster has been up to in the last year.

In a blog post announcing the news, FlightCaster says that while it’s been working on improving its flight delay predictions, it’s also been hammering away behind the scenes on a different problem: saving people money on their flights:

The biggest item in production over the last year is an engine for travel discounts. We realized early in 2010 that helping travelers and businesses save on travel is as important as helping them get to their destination on-time. As we really dug into this space, we met the team at Next Jump and were blown away about their insights into discounts.

Note that despite the apparently different focus, Next Jump has indeed acquired FlightCaster’s technology (as well as most of its team). The price of the deal wasn’t disclosed. FlightCaster’s existing service will remain available on FlightCaster.com, and the company is also making its mobile applications (which were previously paid apps) free.

Flightcaster had raised a total of $800,000.

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