Israeli flight search engine Alice has raised $1.5 million and has launched a new version of its website. The money was raised from Talma Travel and Tours Ltd., owned by Erez Shmul. So far, Alice has raised a total of $2.5 million. Talma Travel and Tours was also the main investor in the company's previous round in November 2016, and it has now raised its stake in it.
The Alice website went online in April 2016. It allows searches for flights to up to four destinations at once, and over a date range, allowing the user to find the best price within that range, including in business and first class.
The new version of the website covers more than 350 destinations, up to a year in advance. The system samples fares for some 250 million flights, in all classes of seats, for one-way or return journeys, or journeys to a combination of destinations. The airlines covered include low-cost airlines.
The Alice website belongs to privately-held company BTL Travel, in which the largest shareholders are founders and joint-CEOs Yaniv Schuldenfrei and Gilad Arditi.
Tens of thousands of flight tickets are sold via the website monthly. "We expect that by the end of 2018 we will be the largest flights search engine in Israel in terms of ticket sales," says Schuldenfrei, for whom the next steps are launching on the international market and expanding to more tourism products, among them hotels and car hire.
"At present, the focus is on flights," he says. "Our existing and new collaborations with the largest travel companies in Israel and around the world enable us to help the customer find attractive flights, which are mostly difficult and frustrating to find, and in the end we save the customer a great deal of money."
"In market that is moving towards massive consolidation, the combination of technological capabilities and creation of mass traffic is the objective logic of the connection between Talma and Alice," says Shmul. Shmul's aim too is to break through into overseas markets. "For the first time in Israel, we will create a global technological travel company," he says.
Like many travel ventures, Alice was born out of personal experience and identification of a gap in the market. Schuldenfrei describes himself as a "cheap air fare freak." "In the past, friends would approach me, knowing that I love finding flights at attractive prices. They were amazed how I would find flights to New York for $550. Actually, I would do a lot of searches using all kinds of methods until I found when it was cheap to fly, which is exactly what Alice's algorithm does, automatically and smartly, and a little better than me."
Jaffa-based Alice has twelve employees, and is hiring more.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 24, 2018
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018