Many travel brands have talked about becoming “the Amazon of travel” but FinalPrice, a Los Angeles-based startup using a subscription model, wants to become “the Amazon Prime of travel”.
The app-only product has picked up $4 million in funding to kickstart its launch, with the cash earmarked for marketing initiatives, product development and scaling.
While the site is based in LA and will concentrate on selling global flights, hotels and car rentals to US travellers, there is a strong East European influence to the business. It is the brainchild of Peter Kutis, the founder of Russia-based OTAs Onetwotrip and AnyDayAnyWay.
The funding round is led by two firms. Sistema VC is the investment arm of Sistema, a Russian holding company with interests across many verticals and which is listed in London and Moscow. It invests in “deep tech startups and next gen infrastructure”.
Private investors are also part of the round.
Kutis thinks that the subscription model will resonate in the US where Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime are normalising annual fees. FinalPrice charges members $99 a year and claims that someone spending $10,000 a year on the site will save $2,500.
The model is simple – FinalPrice will pass on the commission it would normally receive to the members as a discount or cashback, with its revenue coming from the membership fees.
Kutis added that the app will create curated lists of offers based on each user’s preferences and travel history.
Bookings are fulfilled by FinalPrice, which takes inventory from a variety of sources. A spokesperson said that it has direct relationships with some suppliers and access to aggregators and consolidators, although no names were shared.