Travel startup Layla — backed by firstminute capital, M13, Booking.com co-founder Andy Phillipps, Skyscanner co-founder Barry Smith and Paris Hilton — said today that it has acquired AI-powered itinerary building bot Roam Around. Layla didn’t disclose the valuation of the deal.
Roam Around was founded last year by Shie Gabbai, a former Google employee who worked on Waze. The company raised $1 million from investors like FLYR.com and Jason Calacanis. As part of the deal, Roam Around’s team of five is joining Layla. To date, Roam Around has built up 10 million itineraries with half a million people visiting its site every month.
Layla launched in public last year with its AI-powered bot that helps users plan their trips by fetching knowledge from different sources like Booking.com and Skyscanner. Jeremy Jauncey, the founder of the travel agency Beautiful Destinations, is a co-founder at the startup. That’s why Layla takes advantage of a vast library of content from travel creators to show users unique views and clips when they are looking for a place to visit.
Saad Saeed, co-founder of Layla, said that the company believed Roam Around complemented Layla’s product with its itinerary-building bot and partnerships like TripAdvisor, Kayak, Viator and GetYourGuide.
“Roam Around has really been the fastest-growing travel AI startup. They’ve really exploded with their whole itinerary product and gained a lot of customer traction. We have been very successful with social, so we really complemented each other’s strengths a lot,” he said on a call with TechCrunch.
“We had focused a lot on having the best flight prediction models, the hotels, the partnerships with Skyscanner and Booking.com. While they had focused a lot on itineraries integrating with Viator and all of the restaurants. So the idea was really just to kind of bring the best of both worlds together.”
Layla has already started integrating Roam Around’s product. So users can fetch better itinerary data while using Layla. On the flip side, Layla has also placed its bot on Roam Around’s site.
Saeed said that the startup is going to slowly phase out the Roam Around brand and integrate it fully with Layla.
Travel startups including Kayak and Expedia have launched GPT Plugins. Meanwhile, Matador Network’s GuideGeek tool shows real-time flight details. Just like Layla, Matador wants to embed influencer videos on results. In India, navigation company MapMyIndia has backed a startup named Kogo, which is trying to build out an AI-based product to help users with travel experiences while focusing on localizing the experience.