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Posts Tagged ‘les concierges’

Innovative Company – Triporati

February 9th, 2010

Jim Hornthal is a serial entrepreneur, angel, and venture investor in the Silicon Valley.  Jim is the former Founder and Chairman of Preview Travel, a company that rose within the Travel industry during the early digital days, went public and subsequently merged with Travelocity. As the Harvard Business School case by Bill Sahlman on Preview, will tell you:  this was a yo-yo ride from start to finish for Preview – but along the way Hornthal became an expert on travel and online behavior.

What is Triporati?

Perhaps that’s the reason that Jim’s mention of his new company on travelor behavior caught my attention over lunch with him last year, and even more so when he recently demo’d the applications he’s built in “stealth” mode these past 18 months.   The company is called Triporati and the product Jim has launched showcases a bit of  the technology/IP that will eventually become part of the fabric of the $trillion dollar  travel industry.

Arriving at Triperati, the user is given an option to “play the game” – filling out details on one’s personal travel preferences allows a user to narrow down a series of potentially interesting vacation destinations. The more details one provides on their interests and travel experience, the more specific the suggestions the system can make.  And the system learns as the user engages more with the system

The system works in a way similar to a  project, the Music Genome Project, , circa 2000, in which a team  broke down music listening into 400 attributes.  That IP forms the basis for a company called Pandora.

Genomes, DNA and Heredity

The team at Triperati calls this the “vacation genome” project.  In other words, it is capturing the “building blocks” built around one’s travel or vacation interests.  The “genome” in a biological context refers to the both the genes and non-coding sequences of DNA.  So, if Triporati is truly looking at the “genes” of travel/vacation consume decisions, then it must take into account both the choices that unfold from one’s interests AND the history (think:  biological history or heredity) of one’s choices in prior trips/travels/excursions.

This, according to Hornthal, is in fact the objective of the company. To capture both the ontology of vacations and the taxonomy of travel – and put the two together inot a useful IP/algorithm that helps predict future vacations of interest. Furthermore, users who are logged into the Triperati system would be leaving a digital footprint that serves as the “non-coding” portion of the equation, or history/heredity.

This intersection of multiple sciences, as it is applied to travel (a third intersection) is rather intriguing.

In theory, such a system would allow the owner to provide a much more customized/targeted system of choices to users who are not totally clear on where they’d like to go for “next year’s family fun.”

Triporati is funded by angels and CME Ventures (SF) and is currently engaging in several significant partnerships to enable its technology on others’ platforms, as well as testing out its own consumer site, www.triporati.com.

Other industries could benefit

Vacation genomes not only have bearing upon the “travel” industry, but they also could impact the “concierges” industry.  Not familiar with this industry?  It’s a growing $2B+ industry.  A sample company (disclaimer: I’m on the Board)  is Les Concierges, based in SF.  This company currently serves a whos-who of corporate clients (such as Nordstroms, Fidelity, Amex, BofA and VISA), and has recently inked a major partnership with insurance industry behemoth Axa.  The Concierge market focuses not only on travel requests, but also on events (such as concerts), gifts (such as anniversary), venues (such as ball-parks, restaurants), and other goods and services.  A genome approach to this industry would be a HUGE way to assist those calling on the concierges.

Whatever the outcome for Triporati, I find the team’s approach to travel to be a forebearer of more of this to come – understand the users profile, pattern-matching travel/trips to other “like” experiences.

Jim is the former Founder and Chairman of Preview Travel, a company that rose within the Travel industry during the early digital days, went public, and subsequently merged with Travelocity. As the Harvard Business School case by Bill Sahlman on Preview, will tell you:  this was a yo-yo ride from start to finish for Preview – but along the way Hornthal became an expert on travel and online behavior.