With Flight Penguin, Hipmunk’s founders return – TechCrunch

Work trips are making a $5 billion comeback – TechCrunch


Hipmunk’s founders are constructing a successor to their now-defunct flight search service.

The startup was acquired by SAP-owned travel and expense platform Concur in 2016, and its CEO Adam Goldstein departed in 2018. However Goldstein advised me he and his co-founder Steve Huffman (additionally co-founder and CEO of Reddit) had been nonetheless disenchanted when Concur shut the service down at the start of final 12 months.

“Through the years, there have been hundreds of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people that used it and beloved it,” Goldstein mentioned. (I used to be a type of folks — even earlier than I knew what he was engaged on, I began out our name by telling Goldstein how a lot I miss Hipmunk.)

So the pair seed funded a venture referred to as Flight Penguin, with Goldstein serving as the brand new firm’s chairman. And he mentioned the precise product was constructed by former Hipmunk developer Sheri Zada.

The Flight Penguin interface might be very acquainted to previous Hipmunk customers, with a visible structure that makes it simple to see the timing of flights and size of layovers. And simply as Hipmunk allowed customers to arrange outcomes by “agony” (in order that the highest outcomes aren’t simply low cost flights with inconvenient timing or ridiculous layovers), Flight Penguin permits them to kind their flights by “ache.”

Picture Credit: Flight Penguin

However this isn’t simply the previous expertise with a recent coat of paint — it’s additionally meant to enhance on Hipmunk in just a few key methods. For one factor, it permits customers to look by Chase Final Rewards Factors (in addition to U.S. {dollars}, with the purpose of including extra currencies and rewards applications sooner or later).

And the product itself is a Google Chrome extension, somewhat than a conventional flight search web site. The extension truly presents a full, standalone internet expertise (somewhat than an overlay on one other web site), however Goldstein mentioned this method remains to be essential, as a result of it permits Flight Penguin to tug its information “by way of the frontend as an alternative of the backend,” giving it probably the most up-to-date info. This helps to keep away from conditions the place a flight or value exhibits up in search outcomes however isn’t accessible on the airline’s or different vendor’s web site.

As well as, Goldstein mentioned Flight Penguin will present “all of the flights.” In different phrases, it gained’t be making any offers with the airways to cover sure flights or costs, and it’ll additionally present airways that don’t usually make their flights accessible on different search platforms.

“There are literally many, many flights accessible however shoppers don’t see them as a result of journey search websites work out these offers,” he mentioned. “We’re selecting to not play that recreation.”

That has the plain good thing about providing extra complete outcomes, but additionally the drawback that Flight Penguin will be unable to gather affiliate charges for flight purchases. As a substitute, after a 30-day trial interval, it’ll cost customers $10 monthly. (That is an introductory price and can possible change sooner or later.)

Goldstein acknowledged that that is in all probability “not going to be a mainstream product that fifty million People use,” however he’s hoping that it may possibly appeal to a big subscriber base of frequent vacationers who “worth their time and care in regards to the flight reserving expertise.”

“What we realized from Hipmunk was […] the way in which enterprise has historically been performed in on-line journey labored for shoppers in an period with a lot of competitors between airways and journey businesses,” he added. “In a world the place there’s a lot much less competitors, you’re mainly changing into an agent for the folks you’re working with, and it’s exhausting to construct a enterprise mannequin round offering an awesome consumer expertise. That’s why we’re saying that we’re going to decide out of this recreation and play by our personal guidelines.”

Flight Penguin is at present accepting signups for its waitlist, however Goldstein mentioned the corporate is solely utilizing this to deliver customers on-board in a managed trend, and that it plans to maneuver folks off the wait listing fairly shortly.



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