The Boston-based startup was founded by Paul English, who previously co-founded and served as CTO at Kayak. In contrast to many other assistant services that hype their automation and technology, Lola proudly highlights the fact that its iPhone app uses human travel agents — English has described Lola as providing “human-powered travel.”
Lola users interact with those agents through a chat-based interface, allowing you to book plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and more. The app is supposed to learn your preferences over time and also help travelers deal with unexpected emergencies.
In a blog post shared with TechCrunch, English said that the company has plans to launch a new version of the service this spring — one that incorporates more self-serve features driven by artificial intelligence.
“We started Lola to create a level of personal service that few travelers can enjoy today, in essence, an entirely new class of travel,” English said. “That remains our goal. For ‘v2’ Lola, you can expect a first-of-its-kind, mobile experience and AI-assisted hotel recommendations.”
Lola has now raised more than $34 million. The new round was led by Charles River Ventures, with participation from previous investors General Catalyst and Accel. CRV’s Jon Auerbach is joining Lola’s board of directors.
Update (February 7): GV and Tenaya Ventures have invested $5 million each to the Series B, meaning that Lola raised $25 million in this round and more than $44 million total.
In statement provided by GV, Partner John Layman said, “Paul English is an incredible entrepreneur who reshaped the travel industry with Kayak. Lola is well positioned to push the industry forward in a similar way, by using personalization to give travelers better travel options and easier booking.”