US VC firm pumps $30m into Aussie software vendor



news US-based venture capital firm Technology Crossover Ventures has invested $30 million into Australia-based company SiteMinder, which develops software that allows hotels to better monetise their inventory themselves and via more easily connecting to online platforms.

The investment was revealed in a media release published this week. SiteMinder joins Facebook, Expedia, Netflix, ExactTarget, HomeAway and other technology innovators as a TCV investment. The partnership was finalised in late December 2013, after a very successful year during which SiteMinder opened its US operations and grew its revenue very aggressively by more than 70 percent, according to the company.

Founded in 2006 in Australia, SiteMinder bills itself as a leader in the online hotel distribution industry. Its Channel Manager product allows hotels to connect to the world’s leading booking websites from one central cloud application. Its Booking Button platform allows hotels to take direct bookings through their own website and it has a number of other similar products aligned with the hotel industry. SiteMinder currently has offices in Bangkok, Cape Town, Dallas, London and Sydney, and has more than 11,000+ customers in more than 105 countries.

“We have been following SiteMinder for a number of years and have been impressed with the company’s rapid growth, which has been fueled by market-leading product development and a strong, talented team. As a pioneer, SiteMinder’s culture of innovation is unparalleled by any other in the sector. We are excited about this partnership and look forward to working with SiteMinder in continuing its global expansion,” said David Yuan, TCV General Partner, who also sits on the boards of AppNexus, Merkle and Sitecore.

The funding will be used to secure SiteMinder’s position as “a global leader in hotel distribution technology” by allowing it to scale and fulfil the rapidly rising demand for its products in the Americas, while building on its already established position in the European and Asian markets.

“With an ever-increasing number of people booking online, hotels have truly arrived at a place where SiteMinder’s technology is not just a luxury, but it’s an absolute necessity to reach a global audience and to remain competitive. There is a relatively low penetration of our kind of technology in the global hotel market, and with TCV’s wealth of technology and investing experience, we are confident that we have chosen the ideal partner to help us to capture market share rapidly” said Mike Ford, CEO of SiteMinder.

SiteMinder will apply a portion of the funds to build on existing products, adding significant value for its 11,000+ customers, as well as developing new products aimed at satisfying the growing requirement that hotels have to extend their sales reach on the web. In 2013, SiteMinder technology facilitated in excess of US$5 billion in booking revenue for its hotel clients, close to double that of the previous year.

“The SiteMinder story is a unique one in the travel technology space, and the company’s product set and commercial mentality are disruptive and refreshing. We look forward to working with the team to help build on its track record of exceptional growth,” said Erik Blachford, TCV Venture Partner, former CEO of Expedia, and an individual investor in online travel companies including Hotel Tonight, Room 77, and Hipmunk, and board member at Zillow, Glassdoor, Liftopia, and Terrapass.

David Yuan, TCV General Partner, and Erik Blachford, TCV Venture Partner and former CEO of Expedia, will join the SiteMinder Board.

The news represents one of the largest venture capital injections in an Australian technology firm since local company Atlassian took $60 million in investment from US VC firm Accel Partners back in July 2010. The company is currently seeking to list on a US stock exchange.

Image credit: Fernando Mengoni, royalty free