Lola, a unique “human-powered” travel app start up, has already raised $15 million in its most recent round of funding. The company was founded in 2015 by former Kayak CTO Paul English. Lola has raised $34 million in all, and English is planning on combining extra-mile human service with AI recommendations to create a one-of-a-kind experience.
The app has a simple but powerful premise. Lola matches users with human travel agents who help customers with all of their needs, from plane tickets to rental cars. English is betting that Lola will be a high-tech way to bring personal service back to the travel booking process while retaining the convenience and cost-effectiveness of shopping online. The on-demand and real-time service would be especially useful to travelers facing emergency situations and short time-frames, but English and its co-founders are banking that this concept will have large-scale appeal. For now, Lola is only available for IOS and in the United States, but hopes to eventually expand.
Lola stands for “Longitude and Latitude,” and the startup hopes that it can re-awaken the public’s excitement for travel with its innovative but traditional concept. The company will be launching a “smarter” version of Lola which learns a users preferences over time in order to provide more accurate recommendations. Lola also hopes that its special business model will help it win a chunk of the B2B travel agent market.
Boston-based Lola recently acquired an Expedia-backed hotel meta-platform called Room77, also based in Boston. English serves as CEO of the startup, while co-founder Bill O’Donnell, formerly Kayak’s Chief Architect, serves as CTO.