OLSET wants to make travel better for the business workers tasked with planning their own trips through online travel sites. And to do so, it’s just raised $1.1 million in seed funding.
The company was founded to provide a platform that enables business travelers to search for accommodations, and match them up with the three most highly ranked hotels based on a number of factors.
OLSET takes into account the customer’s history of travel, as well as some other social signals, to create a personalized ranking for each individual user. And like most big data, machine-learning type algorithms, the platform only gets smarter with time.
That’s due in part to an increase in the amount of personal data it collects, but also to the amount of information it collects over time from various services around the web. It scours travel ratings and recommendations sites for various reviews and information about hotels, and categorizes listings based on the information provided.
That includes basic amenities information, but it also goes much deeper to include sentiment data. Based on its platform, for instance, OLSET can determine not just if a hotel has a pool, but also how big it is, and if it’s worth using.
Since launch it’s passed more than 10 million categorized reviews and 40 million sentiments collected as part of its data set. It expects that to increase to 100 million reviews and 500 million sentiments by the end of the year.
The company partners with different online travel agencies to power bookings, using its API to bolster traveler sentiment data and enabling them to create customer profiles based on their personal travel information. By doing so, OLSET can provide matching data to create personalized recommendations for third parties as well.
And it’s worked out a partnership with calendaring app Any.do, which will allow users to search for travel directly within that app.
The Any.do partnership shows the power of what OLSET calls “omni booking,” which is OLSET’s way of enabling users to book from practically any medium. The company is testing out a way for travelers to send an email or calendar invite to “firstname.lastname@example.org,” which will return personalized recommendations. It believes it could extend that capability to Twitter, chat, text, and other media going forward.
Anyway, to move all that forward, OLSET has raised $1.1 million in seed funding led by Montage Ventures, with participation from investors that include Digital Garage, 500 startups, Plug & Play Tech Ventures, XG Ventures, Principle Innovation, Merced Partners, and a number of angels.
With that funding, it’s also increased its headcount to seven, recently adding a couple of developers to improve the product and a new marketing director to get the word out. The goal is to work with more online travel agencies and businesses, which will ultimately lead to more end customers for the platform.