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Hospitality Tech Startup, ALICE, Closes $3M Seed Round; Partners with Leading Brands

February 8, 2015

645 Ventures, Founders of NeueHouse, Principals of Tishman Realty and Seamless Web Founders Participate in Oversubscribed Round to Accelerate Technology Development and Market Expansion

New York, NY -- ALICE, a mobile platform for guests to engage with hotel services and staff to manage all requests, today announced that it has secured $3 million in seed funding. The financing was led by hospitality industry insiders, Principals of Tishman Realty  and Founders of NeueHouse. Other investors in the round include 645 Ventures – a new VC founded by Nnamdi Okike, a former principal at Insight Ventures – as well as the founding team of Seamless Web: Jason Finger, Todd Arky and Paul Appelbaum.

ALICE was created in 2013 after its founders experienced consistent frustration with the low-tech methods that hotels used to receive and handle guest requests. "We started as a mobile concierge platform for guests, but quickly realized that there is an equivalent, if not greater, need in efficiently managing the fulfillment of that request. Placing the request was easy, but managing its lifecycle was surprisingly complex. Specifically, most hotel departments work across multiple systems that are not connected; therefore, we set out to create a single platform to deliver a more streamlined solution," said Alex Shashou, co-founder and President of ALICE.

Leveraging their combined experience in hotel management and financial technology (FinTech) at some of the world's leading financial institutions, ALICE team members created the first mobile service-on-demand platform in the hospitality industry. The platform allows guests to discover and request hotel amenities and services from their digital devices, while increasing the property's operational efficiencies through a robust back-end task management and analytics platform. The request begins with a guest's mobile device and ends on the staff mobile device, giving ALICE complete domain control to ensure quality fulfillment.

The technical team is led by Dmitry Koltunov, CFA, who spent a decade on Wall Street leading the build of real-time trading and analytics systems for some of the largest alternative investment management firms in the world. "We have assembled an expert team of developers who see a lot of analogues with FinTech and are excited to apply the technical and analytical rigor of trading technology to hospitality," said Dmitry.

Leading hotel groups including Shangri-La's Hotel Jen, Bespoke Hotels, The Setai, Gansevoort Hotel Group, Standard Hotels and Sixty Hotels currently use the ALICE platform to deliver uncompromised service to their guests. "I believe the reason that we have been able to partner with such incredible brands is that they share our vision of creating one unified system to manage all of their hotels and are actively working with us to create the hotel operating system of the future," said Justin Effron, CEO.

"After decades of managing hotels, I've experienced firsthand shortcomings that the industry faces in effectively utilizing technology," said Alex Furrer, General Manager at The Setai. "ALICE has developed a revolutionary mobile solution to unify guest management across our entire hotel. The service that they help to provide is unparalleled; they enabled us to become the first hotel in the U.S. to allow our guests to order straight from our pool and beach chairs via their mobile devices. Our experience has been so successful with ALICE that we received an Inn Key Award in recognition of guest relations."

Funds from this financing round will be used to advance product development, expand the team and enable the company to continue to scale. Karl Finegan, one of the founding investors and Board Members of Neuehouse, and an ALICE convert, said, "I was initially concerned about technology getting in the way of the luxury experience, but when I finally used ALICE at The Setai, I realized that this was the future. We were so inspired by the potential here that we tracked the team down and convinced them to take our investment capital."

"ALICE provides software that is capable of transforming the hospitality industry," said Nnamdi Okike, Partner at 645 Ventures. "Beyond its easy-to-use guest-facing mobile application, ALICE's back-end technology is a game-changer, enabling hospitality providers to streamline their operations, provide improved customer service and utilize data to make smarter business decisions. We look forward to working closely with the Company to continue its impressive growth trajectory."