start-ups, venture capital

Tap Tap Tap Tap

Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap.  That’s not Morse Code. That’s the sound of great product design.

That’s also the sound a registered user makes when booking a hotel with HotelTonight. All the sound a user makes. Four taps and done. Try doing the same with Orbitz. 60+ taps. Priceline? 70+ taps. Travelocity? 80+ taps. 100+ taps.

The reason that HotelTonight could create such an improved user experience is that unlike the other online travel companies, Founder & CEO Sam Shank, built it from the ground up for a mobile world. Mobile products work best when they are designed “mobile first.” Compare an iPhone with your computer. The screen is smaller. The keyboard is worse. The Internet connection is slower. For mobile experiences, this means that each pixel matters more, every inputs needs to simpler and anything which slows the experience needs to be eliminated. Every step, every delay has the potential to become a user offramp.

When these design needs are combined with a big market, the stakes become enormous. $50B worth of hotels booked online annually. A significant portion of this amount is rapidly shifting from desktop browsers to mobile browsers / apps. Every extra tap, every extra input, every extra second, creates a window for a user to walk through and away from a booking. HotelTonight solves this in brilliant, award-winning fashion.

So, it’s not surprising that as soon as the First Round team met with Sam and saw HotelTonight, we immediately wanted to invest. Today, along with Battery Ventures and Accel Partners, we’re thrilled to be part of a the company’s $3.25 Series A financing. First Round has had some good luck with some of our other “mobile first” investments, like Uber and Path. We’re excited to help HotelTonight continue the trend.

3 thoughts on “Tap Tap Tap Tap

  1. I’ve used HotelTonight several times in the last few weeks, and you’re exactly right – the 4 taps and done interface – plus the great hotels at super prices – is a winner. Congrats to FirstRound and the HotelTonight team.

  2. Pingback: investing in design | Sneakerhead VC

  3. 4 taps? What if you could do it in just two, and the rest was handled via voice interface that could actually understand you, no matter how you choose to express yourself? Wouldn’t that be even more powerful?

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