I’ve been writing about how impressed I am with travel site Hipmunk for a while now, and so have other bloggers. Now it sounds like the company has fans among venture capitalists too.
George Zachary, the Charles River Ventures partner who was an early investor in Twitter, declared today that Hipmunk and his portfolio company Wanderfly are “the most innovative thing I’ve seen in travel.”
Today’s Launch conference in San Francisco was definitely a love fest for Hipmunk, which was demonstrating its iPhone app on-stage. Most of the judges (yes, the same judges who tore apart Appconomy and some of the other presenters) said that the company was their favorite presenter among the startups that demonstrated this afternoon. The idea of sorting flights by “agony” rather than price is something that resonates.
Nonetheless, 500 Startups founder Dave McClure did ask the hard question about Hipmunk’s business — couldn’t someone else just build a similar site? Danilo Campos, who’s in charge of Hipmunk’s mobile app, said that while “it’s easy to copy the results of a feature, I don’t think it’s easy to copy the intent.” At Hipmunk, unlike other travel services, Campos said the intent is “kindness.”
As for the iPhone app, it looks like an impressive transfer of Hipmunk’s features to a smaller screen. My only quibble: It was a little confusing to see the company at a conference called Launch demonstrating a product that it actually launched yesterday.
Hipmunk recently raised $4.2 million in funding in a round led by Ignition Partners.
(Article updated to add Wanderfly, whose name I didn’t catch during the conference.)