CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Freebird, a company dedicated to improving the traveler experience, today announced it has raised $8 million in Series A investment from new and existing investors. The capital will help Freebird accelerate the growth of its flight disruption and mobile re-booking services in the corporate travel market, as well as pursue new channel opportunities.
The Series A investment was led by American Express Ventures, with participation from other new investors CitiVentures and PAR Capital Ventures, as well as existing venture capital investors General Catalyst and Accomplice, and other travel industry angels and investors.
"Travel is a major passion for American Express customers, and we're constantly looking to back companies that can enable a more seamless experience for business and leisure travelers," said Harshul Sanghi, Managing Partner of Amex Ventures, the strategic investment group of American Express. "With its fully digital user interface, Freebird is helping solve one of the key pain points about travel today by making it faster and easier to rebook disrupted flights. Amex Ventures is pleased to support Freebird's continued growth, and we look forward to exploring opportunities to leverage its digital capabilities in the future."
"As the world becomes more connected, travel is reaching a tipping point for innovation," said Luis Valdich, Managing Director at Citi Ventures. "Flight cancellations and delays can have a tremendous impact on workforce productivity across multiple industries, so we're excited to be investing in a company that is working to solve a prevalent pain point for global professionals."
Over the past 18 months, Freebird has significantly expanded its presence in the corporate travel market, adding over 100 corporate clients and 10 corporate travel agency partners, including BCD Travel, one of the largest corporate travel agencies in the world. Freebird is on pace to protect over 250,000 travelers annually.
Prior seed funding for Freebird was led by General Catalyst and Accomplice, as well as from travel industry veterans Kurt Ekert, Mitch Gross, Scott Hintz, and Ellen Keszler, who continue to serve as ongoing advisors to the company.
"We've been impressed by the strong partnerships and market traction Freebird has gained in a relatively short time," said Joel Cutler, Managing Director at General Catalyst. "The team has developed real, one of a kind AI, that's coupled with an intuitive user interface for a hassle-free experience, whether you're traveling for business or pleasure."
To support its growth, Freebird has developed a repeatable customer implementation process and grown a scalable 24/7 traveler support team based in the U.S. In August, Freebird announced that industry veteran Mike Daly joined Freebird as SVP Sales. Daly has over 20 years of corporate travel sales experience and success at Deem, Travelocity Business and GetThere.
In the past year, Freebird has received significant travel industry attention, recently being named "2018 Innovator to Know" by Business Travel News, and "2018 Corporate Travel Innovator" by Skift, as well as a frequent keynote speaker at major industry conferences.
"Flight disruptions are a multi-billion dollar pain point for road-warriors and leisure travelers alike," commented Ethan Bernstein, co-founder and CEO of Freebird. "Freebird's platform supplements existing technology and offers solutions that meet the expectations of everyday travelers. Freebird helps to bridge that gap by providing more proactive intelligence, immediate world-class human support available 24/7, and technology tools that empower travelers to take control of getting to their destinations. Ultimately, Freebird is creating a better end-to-end experience during travel disruptions."
Freebird is a simple mobile solution that empowers travelers to skip the line and instantly book a new ticket after a flight cancellation, significant delay, or missed connection for free, on any airline, with only three taps on their phone. Flight disruptions increase the cost of air travel, decrease service quality and efficiency for travel agencies, and are stressful, unproductive, and frustrating for travelers. Freebird helps travelers, travel agencies, and corporations save time and money, while streamlining operations, maintaining duty of care, and improving the traveler experience. Freebird is headquartered in Cambridge, MA. For more information, visit www.getfreebird.com.