Buuteeq has reeled in an addition $2 million in capital from a long list of angel investors in Seattle and Silicon Valley, money that the fast-growing Seattle company will use as a cushion as it strives to become cash flow positive this year. Buuteeq now powers the Web sites for more than 2,000 small hotels throughout the world, helping those properties attract new guests through advanced SEO techniques and other marketing efforts.
Typical subscription for the service is $3,500 per year, though some customers pay as much as $10,000 for additional marketing services. Earlier this month, Buuteeq partnered with AdReady on a new advertising service that uses “retargeting” campaigns to drive additional brand awareness for the hotels.
“This capital is part of our continuing effort to build out a cash-flow positive business, that is really the emphasis,” said Forest Key, the former Microsoft employee who co-founded Buuteeq. “We looked at our year and said: ‘With a little bit of a cushion in cash, and not going off and doing a big series B right now, let’s focus on getting the business to cash flow positive.’ And once that is established, we have a lot more capability to (expand) in Europe and Asia.”
Those are critical areas for Buuteeq, since roughly 70 percent of the hotels are independently operated. Buuteeq focuses its service on those smaller boutique-style hotels, helping them with professional Web sites and mobile applications. Key estimates that in three to four years less than a third of the company’s customers will be in the U.S.
In fact, Key came up with the idea for the company after struggling to find the Web site for The Datai Hotel in Malaysia. Interestingly, Key — along with Buuteeq executives Adam Brownstein and Cameron Steel– all attended Palo Alto High School in the late 80s.
Total funding in Buuteeq, which now employs 40 people, stands at $7 million. Investors include aQuantive co-founder Mike Galgon; angel investor Geoff Entress; former Microsoft executive Charles Fitzgerald; BuddyTV co-founder Andy Liu; Zapd founder Kelly Smith; and others. In the latest round of financing, Key said that the company added travel industry and social media veterans.
[Editor's note: GeekWire sublets space in the Buuteeq office space in Ballard].