Seattle-based travel planning startup Utrip is coming off its biggest year yet, and now it’s bringing in fresh funding and a partnership that will bring startup’s technology to the cruise ship industry.
Seattle developer Howard S. Wright III, whose family is best known for building the Space Needle, and Craig Schafer, owner of Seattle’s Hotel Andra, have officially joined the company’s investor list, along with previous backers like Costco CFO Richard Galanti, Finagraph CEO James Walter and Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch.
Utrip co-founder and CEO Gilad Berenstein wouldn’t say how much the company raised, but SEC records from October show it raised $325,000 and was looking to top the round off at $700,000. Berenstein would only say the company raised significantly more than the $325,000 the records suggest.
On top of the funding, Utrip said it got a big boost from a partnership it recently signed with cruise ship company Holland America Line. Passengers on those ships will now have access to a planning tool that suggests excursions based on their preferences. The whole thing is powered by Utrip.
The 4-year-old startup is built on machine learning technology that helps travelers build itineraries. Users enter what kinds of things they like to do and when they’ll be traveling. Utrip then outputs a complete schedule that accounts for things like distance and time to get from one activity to the next.
Bernstein said the company has more than doubled its customer base in the past few months.
The company’s big year got started last November when it was invited to present as part of the Travel Innovation Summit at the annual Phocuswright Conference, which is a big deal in the travel industry. That got the company’s name out there and opened all sorts of other opportunities, Berenstein said.