Paul English's Lola Travel Just Raised a $15M Series B

Lola Travel, the Boston travel startup led by Kayak co-founder Paul English, announced Monday that it has raised a $15 million Series B led by venture capital firm CRV. English said another "top-tier VC" could bring more funding later on.

A new Form D filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicate that Lola has been looking to raise up to $25 million total for the Series B. English told me Monday evening that existing investors General Catalyst and Accel Partners also participated and that more funding could come from another "top-tier VC," though he is "not sure yet."

English later told Boston Business Journal that the funding round places the startup's valuation at $90 million. The valuation would stay the same if the startup decides to raise more money for its Series B.

In a blog post shared with BostInno, English wrote that CRV Partner Jon Auerbach is joining the startup's board of directors, which also includes former Constant Contact CEO Gail Goodman and former Orbitz Worldwide CEO Barney Harford.

The new fundraise comes almost a year after Lola launched its iPhone app in May 2016 that connects travelers with live travel agents on a messaging interface that's augmented by artificial intelligence. English's goal is for Lola to become the only travel booking app you'll ever need because talking to a human about your travel needs is more natural than, say, typing in a series of inputs into a website like the entrepreneur's previous company, Kayak.

English said in the blog post that Lola plans to use the funds for a new version of Lola coming this spring. This second version, he added, will provide a "first-of-its-kind, mobile experience and AI-assisted hotel recommendations."

"We started Lola to create a level of personal service that few travelers can enjoy today, in essence, an entirely new class of travel. That remains our goal," English wrote.

Lola currently books hotels free of charge, though other types of travel may come with agent service fees, including a $25 fee for flight bookings, according to its page on the App Store. English previously told me that agents could provide other free services, such as restaurant recommendations and other travel queries.

The startup previously closed a $19.7 million Series A round in April 2016. The Series A was made up of the remaining funds from Lola's previous incarnation as a startup accelerator, Blade, with additional funds from General Catalyst and Accel Partner. It has also bulked up its team and technology assets with two acquisitions, most recently buying an Expedia-backed hotel search site from a former colleague at Kayak.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Gail Goodman was the founder of Constant Contact. She was its former CEO and a very early hire.

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