Original Post

Ski Lift Ticket Online Retailer Liftopia Scores Another $1.3 Million in Investor Financing

October 20, 2011

San Francisco, CA - Liftopia Inc., the largest online retailer of ski lift tickets and mountain resort activities, on Wednesday announced it has raised $1.3 million in a round led by First Round Capital. New investors Dave Morin and Chris Sacca 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 has always been about helping resorts take steps towards effectively executing on advance purchase, revenue management, and data driven pricing decisions to make their business more effective," says the company's co-founder and CEO, Evan Reece, who worked with co-founder Ron Schneidermann at travel marketer Hotwire.com. "This latest round of funding allows us to pour resources into our technology, improve our customer service, and broaden our reach as a marketing channel. We believe that giving resorts control of their distribution and a core understanding of what works means they can proactively and reactively encourage effective pricing models while removing those that dilute their business."

Liftopia sells lift tickets online in advance to ski resorts across North America. Skiers and riders save up to 80% the walk-up lift ticket price, and resorts get to engage variable pricing to hedge against adverse weather conditions and slow business periods. The lower the demand for a particular date, the lower the price that the consumer pays. Founded in 2006, the company works with over 150 ski resorts to offer not only lift tickets, but also ski lessons, rentals, dining credits and VIP mountain experiences such as Fast Tracks, First Tracks, and even private ski mountain rentals.

"This investment allows us to create tools for both resorts and skiers to solve a common goal: get people out on the slopes in a way that benefits both customers and resorts," says Reece. "The next few months will bring broad improvements in the underlying technology and data infrastructure we provide resorts so that our partners can best understand the relative effectiveness of any given strategy its impact on advance purchase behavior."

Among the investors announced in Wednesday's capital infusion, Shank is the founder of HotelTonight and TravelPost, while Blachford is an early employee and former CEO of Expedia, Inc./IAC Travel and an investor in Farecast, Zillow, Hipmunk and Room 77.

"This is a standard Silicon Valley venture investment which involves new investors getting an equity stake in exchange for their investment," explains Reece. "Whether it be our employees, our investors or our advisors, we have always tried to surround ourselves with those who share a passion for the ski industry and can contribute unique perspective to improving our product for resorts and consumers. All of the folks joining in on this round have tremendous experience in building successful companies that help industries succeed. We are incredibly excited to involve their unique perspective on the Liftopia model, whether it be mobile, social, e-commerce, big data or general marketing."

"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."