VO: When people think of tech, they think Silicon Valley, but there’s another city muscling in Boston.
Bill Aulet: Here you have massive technology, things like biotech, robotics, algorithm, enterprise software, whereas when you go out to San Francisco, it’s more the e-commerce sites, the dating websites, the platforms to do social media. VO: Boston is consistently ranked amongst the smartest cities in America, and with universities like Harvard and MIT based here, that’s not much of a surprise. Bill Aulet We bring in people from all over the world, and they are dedicated to doing the most leading-edge things possible in science and technology, and that’s been the engine that generated the growth in the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Boston. VO: Many of those great minds have turned their attention to creating apps and software that make traveling easier and smarter. And where the smart people go, the money quickly follows. Janelle Nanos I think Boston has really become a hub for travel technology and venture capital more so than Silicon Valley, in part just because there’s a pre-existing community. Jeff Fagnan Here you have companies like ITA Travel, Kayak, and Priceline, and they spawn the next group of companies coming out if it. VO: One such company is Hopper, which is helping travelers to get the best deals on flights. Fred Lalonde: Hopper is an app that allows you to purchase airfare, and it predicts the future of airfare. So up to a year in advance, within 5 dollars to the day, on any route in the world, Hopper knows what the lowest fare is going to be. VO: But even with the best-laid plans, it’s always good to have a backup. And that’s where fellow Boston-based company Freebird come in. Ethan Bernstein: For business travelers being unproductive in the airport costs their business a lot of money. If they experience a missed connection, we give them the ability to rebook in less than 30 seconds with only three taps on their phone. And the traveler can focus on getting to their new gate and ultimately getting to where they need to go. Fred Lalonde: We grew 23 hundred percent last year, and as we look to the future, we’re building Hopper to become a global travel brand in over a hundred markets. Ethan Bernstein, We just raised our second round of funding – an additional 5 million dollars from two world-class venture capital firms. And in addition to that, we’ve recently signed ten corporate travel partners to help our expansion. Jeff Fagnan We believe in mission-driven people. For us, when an entrepreneur comes in and wants to change a traditional industry completely, we get super motivated about that. Janelle Nanos Online travel bookings are a 350-billion-dollar industry. If these companies do it well and do it right, they stand to make a lot of money, they stand to grow, and they can really put Boston even bigger on the map.