Impala raises $20m to expand hotel API platform

By Robert Scammell

Hotel data startup Impala, which creates a universal standard for business-to-business hotel interactions, has raised $20m to expand its platform.

Impala uses an application programming interface (API) to plug into hotel data that is traditionally stored on legacy systems. These property management systems are used to keep track of data for aspects such as rooms, pricing and taxes. Opening up this data to travel agencies working with hotels can be costly and time-consuming.

The London-based startup provides simpler access to this data via its API, using robotic process automation (RPA) to read the information quickly and accurately before storing it in the cloud.

Impala’s current focus is on companies that need to read data from the room. That includes digital infrastructure providers, such as thermostats, keycards and televisions firms.

With the latest funding, Impala plans to invest in booking tools which it says will allow greater personalisation for guests booking hotels.

“You can imagine a world where you don’t just search for a room for two travellers in Paris, but a room in Paris, with a sofa, between the 12th and 14th floors,” said Impala CEO and co-founder Ben Stephenson.

“Impala can offer the incredibly granular experience that consumers currently expect, which is what will let us lead the next generation of travel startups.”

Airbnb backers invest in Impala

The Series B funding round was led by Lakestar, a venture capital firm that has previously invested in the likes of Airbnb, Spotify and Revolut. Venture capital firm Latitude Ventures also provided investment.

It follows a Series A funding round four months ago in which Impala raised $11m.

Founded in 2016, Imala’s current customers include Phillips and TripAdvisor. The startup is currently working with more than 300 hotels and says it has a backlog of 3,500 hotels queuing up to use its platform.

“Just like the trend towards open banking, the hospitality sector needs solutions that are smart, responsive and can ‘talk’ to the world outside – unlike the siloed, old-school operating systems they’re saddled with at the moment,” said Stephenson.

“Our technology hopes to become the standard that lets everyone communicate. By democratising access to hotel data, Impala will fundamentally change the way people book hotels and interact with the places they stay. We want to become the rails on which hotel travel runs.”

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