CHICAGO and BOSTON, Jan. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Rocketmiles (www.rocketmiles.com) today announced that is has raised another $6.5 million to fuel expansion in the U.S. and international markets. The Series-A round was led by August Capital, with participation from existing investors Peterson Ventures, Link Ventures and Atlas Venture. New investors include Chicago Ventures and Sam Yagan, CEO at Match.com.
Launched less than a year ago, Rocketmiles is a travel-booking site that helps consumers get on vacation faster through a new class of miles incentives. By booking hotels on the Rocketmiles site, customers typically earn 7,000 airline miles per booking, or about 10-20x the typical incentive. Meanwhile, hotel partners are highly motivated to partner with Rocketmiles because it is a unique vehicle to reach premium customers without using visible discounting schemes on deal sites, which can weaken their brand and pricing strategy.
"Rocketmiles has developed an incredibly simple platform that shakes up the enormous, but somewhat sleepy, $1.1 trillion market for business travel. The company takes the proven curated approach of a Hotel Tonight or Groupon, but swaps in virtual currencies for cash discounts that create a win-win for customers and hotels. Loyalty points and miles are prized by a large segment of business travelers and Rocketmiles offers unparalleled value to these customers," said Tripp Jones, partner at August Capital.
"For 25 million people worldwide, loyalty programs enable that winter break to San Juan or personal adventure to New Zealand. Our goal is to make that vacation happen faster," said Jay Hoffmann, CEO of Rocketmiles and former executive at United Mileage Plus and Groupon. Based on our proprietary data, we know the average traveler stands to earn in excess of 80,000 extra miles per year if they use Rocketmiles for their hotel bookings."
New Board Members and Advisors
As part of the Series A financing, Rocketmiles added August Capital partner Tripp Jones to its Board, who brings significant operating experience and expertise in internet business models. In addition, the company named travel industry entrepreneur Scott Hintz as its second outside member. Hintz was a cofounder of TripIt, which was acquired in 2011 for $120 million. Prior to TripIt he was SVP of Product at Hotwire and a management consultant specializing in travel at Accenture. "Even though the travel industry has been in a constant state of innovation over the past decade, there are still many areas ripe for disruption. The growth that Rocketmiles has achieved so far is reminiscent of Hotwire's early days."
Rocketmiles also named Tom Botts, a hospitality veteran from Starwood and Denihan Hospitality, to its Advisory Council. He joins Drew Patterson, former CEO at Jetsetter and current CEO of Room77.
Rocketmiles launched in 2013 to allow frequent fliers to earn previously unheard of quantities of loyalty program miles and points when booking rooms at high-quality hotels. For consumers, Rocketmiles makes saving up for incredible vacations faster and easier. For hotels, Rocketmiles means being able to offer high-value customers inventory that would have otherwise gone unsold — without weakening the brand through public discounting. Based in Chicago and Boston, and backed by top-tier strategic venture firms, the company is founded by travel and loyalty veterans Jay Hoffmann, Bjorn Larsen, and Kris Helenek. For more information, visit www.rocketmiles.com and follow on Twitter @rocketmiles.
"...if you would prefer to earn miles every night you book a hotel, you should use Rocketmiles." --Chris Lopinto, Huffington Post, 1/3/14: "Ten Ways to Earn Miles without Getting on a Plane."
"I am always looking to back great entrepreneurs providing great users experiences in huge markets. The Rocketmiles team has very quickly gained traction with both key industry players and its many loyal customers. This is one of the most exciting investments I've made." -- Sam Yagan, Co-founder of OkCupid, CEO of Match, and Rocketmiles investor.
"Rocketmiles is at the top of the class of innovative startups here in Chicago. In the last year, we've watched them explode out of the gate like Apolo Ohno. Jay Hoffman and the team are building a great company that also happens to follow in the lineage of established Chicago travel companies like Orbitz and United, and great Chicago eCommerce companies like Groupon." -- Stuart Larkins, partner at Chicago Ventures.
"Rocketmiles is the best! An easy to use site that has competitive hotel prices and amazing mileage! I'm already looking forward to booking some trips all thanks to Rocketmiles. We are planning a trip to Yosemite in the Fall, then for next year hope it will help fund a trip to Italy." -Marie Guinto, a Rocketmiles customer.
"Rocketmiles is like Deer Antler spray for your frequent flyer account" -- Peter Jackson, a Rocketmiles customer.