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Israel's Tripboard gets $1M from top Chinese investor

Virtual travel agent app, developed by Israelis, gets funding from Hong Kong business mogul Li Ka-shing.

Another Israeli startup, Tripboard, which offers an automatic, voice-activate trip planner, has raised about one million dollars from Chinese business magnate Li Ka-shing, Calcalist has learned.


This is the fourth investment in an Israeli company for the billionaire, who has made the transaction through his venture capital investment fund, Horizon.


Tripboard's developers, Nadav Gur, Imri Goldberg and Mosi Schuchman met at the Stanford Research Institute, which has long been considered an incubator for technology revolutionaries. The institution was where the computer mouse, the LCD display and the Internet were born.


Siri, the voice-activated virtual assistant installed on the iPhone 4S was also created at SRI, before it was bought by Apple for $200 million.


Virtual travel agent

Tripboard wants to be for tourism what Siri is for mobile navigation.


"When you look for a tourist destination on Google or Expedia, you get a long list of hotels which is not always relevant," explained Gur, Tripboad's CEO.


"Many hotels employ search engine optimization methods so it's easy to get lost. On the other hand, when you use a human travel agent, you get two or three suggestions that meet your requirements.”


The company is expected to launch what it calls an "automatic travel agent" as soon as April. The cellular application takes its inspiration from Siri and allows users to choose optimal travel plans using voice activation and feedback.


"You speak to your travel agent", explained Gur, "He makes suggestions and you modify them. He'll send you to a certain destination and you can ask for a hotel for less than $100 a night or for a specific chain."


"In the search of talent and ideas, Israel is always a good choice for both, and I'm proud that an Israeli group has grown in the incubator," says SRI head of software and Internet, Israeli-born Dror Oren. "Tripboard was the first attempt to found a company that is partly based in Israel, and it was a success".


Click here to read this article in Hebrew



פרסום ראשון: 02.16.12, 07:43
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