April 18, 2011 By blogging

Get Out of Town…With This Startup That Is.

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Summer is just around the corner…, which means travel season! The only thing worse than the pocket-draining prices is the amount of time you have to spend finding the perfect flight: matching up the times, decreasing the number of stops, deciding what’s worth the cost and what isn’t…then rearranging it all.

It’s like a game of Jenga! We scoured the net and found this pretty cool startup looking to numb the pain of travel planning.

Hipmunk is a travel company started by former Reddit founders, Alexis Ohanian and Adam Goldstein. Branded with a chipmunk in aviator goggles, this startup’s founder claims their company is the ticket to pain-free travel planning.

We like how Hipmonk describes making travel decision as being based on an “agony” rate, which depends on the cost, duration and number of stops. The company also automatically sorts out flights at inconvenient times or those with numerous stops—unless specified not to.

Through filtration, users get the best flight options without having to sort through the ones you’ll only take as a last resort. Search results are also presented on a single page, in a format that isn’t overwhelming.

Is your interest peaked? Ours was. Here at Integrate we love traveling! So we looked into the startup a little more. The inspiration behind it? Goldstein, who was a member of MIT’s debate team, found himself with the unfortunate headache of booking team travel to tournaments. After countless battles with travel sites, Goldstein decided there had to be a better way to book flights.

Ohanian and Goldstein had no problem getting funding, given their impressive knowledge and history with startups like Reddit. They chose to go with friend Paul Graham of YCombinator, who had funded Reddit back in the day.

Their next step was to start small. They partnered with travel giant Orbitz initially. Users could search flights through Hipmunk and then purchase them through Orbitz. However, after developing a strong user-base of their own, Hipmunk was able to break out on their own and land a deal with ITA Software–the Google owned travel software company.

Hipmunk now employs seven people and serve a few hundred thousand users a month according to Goldstein.

The business’ growth and marketing thus far is based completely on word-of-mouth viral spread. We are excited to watch this company grow because god knows we could all use this service!