Liftopia Raises $1.3 Million to Expand Lift Ticket and Mountain Activity E-Commerce Platform
Round Led by First Round Capital with Participation from Angels Chris Sacca, Dave Morin and Existing Investors
SAN FRANCISCO — (October 19, 2011) Liftopia, Inc., the largest online retailer of lift tickets and mountain resort activities, today announced it has raised $1.3 million in a round led by First Round Capital. New investors Dave Morin and Chris Sacca also participated, along with existing investors and travel technology veterans Erik Blachford and Sam Shank. This brings Liftopia's total capital raised to nearly $3 million.
Liftopia, founded in 2006, is a complete ski and resort activity marketplace, working directly with more than 150 mountain resorts across North America. The Liftopia platform enables resorts to sell lift tickets and a variety of resort activities in advance, including date-specific, non-refundable and non-transferable tickets, which translates to consumer savings of up to 80 percent off walk-up rates. The company continues to expand its range of products and services, offering ski lessons, rentals, dining credits and VIP mountain experiences such as Fast Tracks, First Tracks, and even private ski mountain rentals. In addition to direct to consumer sales, Liftopia's e-commerce and technology platform helps resorts better manage inventory and revenue by enabling intelligent variable pricing through advanced sales and demand pattern analytics.
The financing will help the company expand its technology platform and deliver more tools and services to its resort partners, enabling dynamic pricing and revenue management driven by robust business intelligence. By helping resorts actively control pricing and drive sales weeks and months in advance, Liftopia helps resorts insulate themselves from arrival risks such as weather, snow conditions and even hangovers. Much like advance purchase pricing strategies seen in the airline, hotel and car rental industries, lift tickets purchased on Liftopia more than two weeks in advance allow consumers to save on average one-third off walk-up rates. As a result of these deals, Liftopia is shifting consumer mindset to advance versus same-day purchase and customers report they are skiing more days and trying more resorts.
"Recreational skiing and snowboarding is a massive global business. Liftopia is modernizing ticket purchase behavior by allowing lift ticket sales to happen online and in advance. The same shift that OpenTable enabled in the restaurant industry is being driven by Liftopia in the ski industry," said Kent Goldman of First Round Capital, who is also assuming a new seat on the Liftopia board of directors. "The Liftopia founders and team have built an incredible platform. It's helping resorts manage their business more profitably while giving skiers and riders mountain experiences at great prices."
"Nearly three in four Liftopia customers skied more last season because of the deals they found on our site. By working with resorts to manage their pricing dynamically, consumers are able to stretch their dollars to ski more," said Evan Reece, co-founder and CEO of Liftopia. "We're excited to add First Round Capital, Chris Sacca and Dave Morin to our impressive roster of investors, all of whom are as passionate about helping the ski industry as we are and have deep experience identifying and running innovative businesses."
Liftopia was founded by Evan Reece and Ron Schneidermann, who worked together at Hotwire.com. The idea sparked as they recognized the ski industry could benefit from some of the same pricing strategies and revenue management principles adopted by airlines, hotels and rental car companies. In each of the past five years, year-over-year transaction volume and revenue have grown in the triple digits.
Ski resorts participate in Liftopia for free, offering no-risk marketing and distribution that delivers incremental sales and revenue. For each transaction through Liftopia, the company retains a portion of revenue. In the past year, transaction volume and revenue have grown in the triple digits.
Liftopia recently kicked off its pre-season sale with more than 60,000 deals, some of which were 90 percent off. Deals are updated regularly and current examples include 50 percent off at Colorado's Copper Mountain with lift tickets starting at $49.99; and, a two out of seven day pass at The Canyons in Park City, Utah for $99.99, a savings of nearly 40 percent. This season, Liftopia has added Stratton, Alta and Aspen to its growing selection of resorts. The company also expects to add more mountain-related activities during the summer to drive year-round transactions and revenue.
Liftopia also offers detailed information on mountain resorts, including services, amenities, run difficulty and the ability to browse user reviews to help skiers and boarders research and choose the best resort for their needs. Participating resorts include major resorts in California, Colorado, Utah, New York, New England, British Columbia and Quebec, such as Park City, Winter Park, Aspen, Deer Valley, Snowbird, Mammoth, Kirkwood, Stowe, Sun Valley, Taos, Snowshoe, Mont Tremblant, Killington, Sunday River, Banff, and Whiteface.
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Liftopia is a robust online ski and mountain resort activity marketplace, offering the largest source of advance purchase, discounted ski lift tickets online in addition to rentals, lessons, dining and other mountain-related activities and products. Liftopia offers deals at more than 150 resorts across North America including Stratton, Park City, Winter Park and Diamond Peak. Liftopia provides skiers and snowboarders the ability to buy date-specific lift tickets and other on-mountain activities online and in advance for up to 80% off the ticket window prices. By committing to date-specific, non-refundable tickets, skiers and riders are able to get deep discounts at the resorts they love. Liftopia's proprietary technology enables ski resorts to better manage inventory, revenue, yield and pricing during high- and low-demand periods. Founded in 2006, Liftopia is headquartered in San Francisco and backed by leading institutional and angel investors. For more information visit the Liftopia blog or follow the company on Facebook (www.facebook.com/liftopia) and Twitter (@Liftopia).