HotelTonight Acquires Restaurant Reservation Startup PrimaTable, CEO Jamie Davidson Becomes Product VP

HotelTonight just announced that it has acquired restaurant startup PrimaTable. This is the hotel booking company’s first acquisition.

The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but the companies say PrimaTable CEO Jamie Davidson (a former YouTube and Google engineer) will be become HotelTonight’s vice president of product, while his co-founder Colin Zima has been named data scientist. PrimaTable’s third team member, a developer, is also joining HotelTonight. The PrimaTable service itself, which offered users last-minute reservations and custom experiences at high-class restaurants, will be shut down.

As the name implies, HotelTonight allows you to find a hotel, well, tonight. It launched a redesigned app a couple of weeks ago. Co-founder and CEO Sam Shank tells me that when he started talking to PrimaTable, it was like “a mind meld” — in part, because the companies were working on very similar problems (filling “perishable, last-minute inventory”) in different industries. So when the PrimaTable team reached a “decision point” about whether it could build a big consumer brand, Shank made the acquisition offer.

“These guys will be taking their knowledge about yield optimization and mobile commerce, and bringing all those skills to us,” Shank says. He adds that no, this doesn’t mean HotelTonight is getting into the restaurant reservation business: “We will remain focused on hotels.”

In a lot of ways, this sounds a classic “acqui-hire”, but the deal isn’t just about hiring the PrimaTable team. Because a lot of the backend issues are the same, aspects of PrimaTable’s technology will be “ported over into the HotelTonight platform,” Shank says.

HotelTonight has raised $35.7 million from Battery Ventures, Accel Partners, First Round Capital, US Venture Partners, and others. PrimaTable’s investors include Battery, InterWest, Google Ventures, and Data Collective Partners.