As more people dust off their luggage and passports after storing them during the global pandemic, Avoid aims to show travelers a new way of spontaneous travel.
The Los Angeles-based startup on Thursday launched its Travel Discovery mobile app, a budget-focused search engine that shows people how far their money will take them. The platform’s personalized onboarding experience personalizes travel packages and offers future travel suggestions based on those preferences.
The idea for the company came three years ago from Alex Simon, CEO, and Frankie Scerbo, CMO, who met in college and came together out of their love of travel and would do it together every time they had a long weekend. One new year they tried to plan a trip, but it was all too expensive. Unable to find something within their budget, they came up with the idea for Elude.
Rather than searching by destination, Elude collects information such as budget, time period, and travel preferences (think beach in front of mountains), then presents users with flight and hotel results for destinations they may never have before. They thought they existed or that they could visit in their budgets.
The company leverages the same flight and hotel databases used by all online travel companies that store hundreds of thousands of flights and hotels and only suggest hotels with 3.5 stars or higher.
The co-founders have now raised $ 2.1 million in seed funds led by a group of investors including Mucker Capital, Unicorn Ventures, Upfront Scout Fund, StartupO, Grayson Capital, and Flight VC.
When Erik Rannala, co-founder and managing partner of Mucker Capital, initially invested in Elude, it was before the global pandemic. However, you see travel back to normal, although with flights now more expensive than before, more people are looking for travel deals, something that wasn’t being addressed until Elude arrived.
Travel is “a massive category,” with most people in “look mode” or “book mode,” and money is only earned in book mode, Rannala said. By taking a budget-centric approach, Elude is moving people from look to book mode more quickly.
“The way they have done it is to help people discover something new based on their budget that is available to reserve right now,” he added. “It’s a unique way to solve the problem and offer people a good deal.”
With millennials spending more $ 200 billion annually In travel, the goal of Elude is to reduce travel hours in search of a trip and more time actively booking vacations. While competitors can show only flights or only hotels, Elude produces packages of flights and hotels.
“With just a few clicks, we can show you, for example, that you can go to Barcelona for the same price as Miami,” Scerbo told TechCrunch. “If you knew that kind of information, you would have a better trip. This opens the door to taking a trip every few months instead of the one or two trips a year that most people do. “
Before today, Elude was in private beta mode where the company had accumulated some 40,000 people on the waiting list. Simon said.
Elude plans to use the funds to promote technology, the marketing function, operations and customer service.