Blade announced in September that it was transforming itself from a startup accelerator to a travel startup and, since then, we’ve only learned a few details about what founder Paul English is cooking up. Even though Blade Travel is still in stealth mode, it has already made its first acquisition, giving us another clue as to what English and co. are up to.
On Monday, the startup announced on Medium that it had recently acquired San Francisco-based travel startup hopOn, which provides a travel-booking service that hooks into other services, like OpenTable, Expedia and Uber. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
English told BostInno that only two of hopOn’s five team members—CTO and co-founder Doug Morgan and senior software engineer Ankit Desai—have moved to Boston to join Blade’s core team. “The rest of the guys are moving onto other things,” he said of the three team members who decided not to move to Boston, including CEO and co-founder Jade Van Doren.
As a result, hopOn’s service will be sunsetting at a later date that hasn’t been determined yet, English said. When it does shut down, hopOn’s “thousands of users” will be invited to join Blade, he added.
Beyond adding technical talent to Blade’s team, English said the acquisition will allow Blade to use hopOn’s booking engine as part of what Blade is building, which is still very much under wraps. He said Blade plans to unveil more details about its business, including the startup’s new name, at an event on Dec. 2 at its Summer Street office.
“We’re going to try to make travel planning and booking more simpler and more fun than what anyone else is doing in the space.”
Founded in 2013, hopOn’s service lets users book flights on more than 400 global airlines, more than 170,000 Expedia hotels, more than 33,000 OpenTable restaurants and more than 20,000 Viator activities—all of which are 100 percent price-match guaranteed, according to its website. It also lets users schedule Ubers in advance, share expenses via Venmo and view restaurant reviews from Yelp.
Morgan told BostInno that hopOn was initially looking for investors earlier this year to raise its Series A round, but then he met English through a mutual contact. English originally met with hopOn a couple months ago to advise them and potentially help them with the Series A, but after more discussions, both parties realized there were a “ton a synergies” between both companies.
“It made sense to jump on board,” Morgan said.
When asked to give any hint of what Blade is working on, English refused to give any solid details but said Blade Travel will ultimately seek to provide something that is far different (and better) than what PriceLine and Expedia, the two largest travel booking websites, offer.
“We’re going to try to make travel planning and booking more simpler and more fun than what anyone else is doing in the space,” he said.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story erroneously referred to another travel startup that is also called HopOn. The story has been updated to remove references to this startup.