Skyscanner has attracted a £2.5 million first round funding package from leading venture capital group Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) to expand its rapidly-growing air travel site into the world’s most comprehensive easy-to-use flight search engine.
Skyscanner, which was founded in 2003 in Scotland, has developed innovative proprietary search engine technology which already allows consumers to obtain instant online comparisons on fares from more than 180 airlines to more than 5,000 destinations.
It plans to become the first flight search engine in the world to cover every scheduled flight, including budget and chartered airlines as well as major carriers. The website www.sykscanner.net which is free to use, is already generating profits and attracting around one million price enquiries a day.
Skyscanner already has commercial links with the majority of European airlines and is now targeting global coverage. The company is preparing for rapid growth as more routes are added to its database which displays search results in 20 different languages.
Skyscanner Chief Executive Gareth Williams said: “We developed sophisticated search engine technology which is highly effective at helping consumers find bargains and airlines to sell tickets. It’s all about speed, coverage and usability. Skyscanner will become the first flight search engine in the world to show fares for every flight at the touch of a button.”
Stuart Paterson of SEP said: “Skyscanner has the potential to become a world leader in the travel sector which is one of the web’s hottest consumer transaction areas. The company has a talented management team, underpinned by smart technology and a highly scaleable business model.”
Skyscanner operates a flexible easy-to-use system, allowing users to browse fare and flight information without having to specify their date of travel. It does not sell tickets but has direct links with airlines’ websites, removing the need to re-enter data. It offers a Multi-Hop flight search facility and suggestions for short and longer break destinations.
The company was founded by Chief Executive Gareth Williams, Chief Technology Officer Bonamy Grimes, and Director of Business Development Barry Smith, all of whom have backgrounds in IT consulting for blue-chip clients. Skyscanner is headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland and also has an IT engineering base in Poland.
Gareth Williams said: “We are already established as Europe’s leading flight search engine, the funding from SEP will enable us to move more rapidly towards global leadership. We deliver significant benefits to travellers looking for a simple and efficient way to compare flight options. “
Williams added: “Skyscanner is an industry leader when it comes to converting click-through site visits to airline ticket sales. That’s the key reason airlines want to work with us.”
Justin Barton, Partnerships Manager for British Airways at Agency.com, said:
“Skyscanner have proven to be technological leaders in the travel meta-search market. They have been delivering a unique and innovative product for years that affords functionality that competitors are still struggling to match. As a result they are uniquely valuable to partners like British Airways, consistently delivering strong conversion-to-sale and impressive volumes of short-haul traffic.”