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Sidestep travel site gets $15M : Round led by Norwest Venture

Sidestep started as a toolbar for travel comparison shopping in 1999 and I was one of the early adopters! They didn’t even have a website: the only way to use them was to install the toolbar and the worst part was that every virus scan would tag their toolbar as a malware.

I stayed with them for several years but stopped using them when they stopped including Southwest’s fares in their comparison shopping. What’s the point of comparison shopping if the one of the major low cost providers is not included in the comparison! Southwest has remained independent from most search engine aggregators, so I am not blaming SideStep for it, just recognizing that SideStep’s usefulness was diminished because of third party constraints. I still use them for car rentals and hotels and thankfully, they now have a decent website.

The new funding of $15M will be used to expand into the European and Asian travel markets, said Rob Solomon, CEO. Currently, the site chiefly serves the United States and the United Kingdom. In addition, he said, he plans to expand the infrastructure to support user reviews.

They have raised a total of $39M by now. I am surprised that they are not profitable yet; I understand that they expect to be in black starting the second quarter of 2007.

The major competitors include Kayak and Mobissimo. In the review category, it competes with travel social networking sites like WAYN (which was recently funded with $10M+) and Tripadvisor.

This round was led by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP). The round participants also include Trident Capital, Leader Ventures, and Saints Capital .

Company: Sidestep
CEO: Rob Solomon
Location: Santa Clara, California
Funding Raised: $39M
Venture Capital Firms: Norwest Venture Partners (NVP). ,Trident Capital, Leader Ventures,and Saints Capital.


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February 8th, 2007 Posted by Sunny Kalara | Venture Capital | no comments