Ithaka is already present in Indonesia and Thailand and will soon enter Malaysia and Vietnam
The Ithaka team
Ithaka, a travel app that helps people plan their trips over chat with travel experts, has secured US$325,000 in its first round of funding from a few angel investors in the US, Singapore and India. Investors include LinkedIn Pulse Co-founder Ankit Gupta and Jet Airways pilot Puneet Motihar.
Ithaka was established in late 2015 in by IIT Bombay graduates Ameya Sahasrabudhe and Rahul Singh. It is a personalised travel planner that helps users plan a custom itinerary based on their interests and preferences by chatting with a travel expert.
“Existing solutions either try to sell you a package upfront or generate an itinerary based on little or no understanding of the traveler. This to us is blasphemy,” said Sahasrabudhe. “Travel should be personal and experiential, and we’ve built our user experience with just one goal in mind: every traveler should have the most personalised travel experience possible.”
Travel planning is difficult and tiring. While there are innumerable blogs, online guides and reviews, they don’t help the consumer take a decision. Ithaka solves this problem with a chat-based support. Users get realtime advice from destination experts, which allows the company to understand the user intimately and be deeply involved in the planning process. More importantly, the app does not spam travellers with various tour packages, rather helps them plan their own itineraries. The user experience is designed to help craft unique, super personal trips for every type of traveler.
A free to use app, Ithaka makes revenues by selling local activities and experiences from carefully-curated and highly-recommended operators.
“The biggest compliments our users give us is how we help them structure their plan to minute details in a simple manner,” Co-founder and CPO Singh.
“It is very crucial for us to maintain the human touch because users love it, but also to automate to tackle scale. We are selecting parts of the travel planning flow, and reducing human dependence by introducing intelligent features. This involves using our rich user data to have machine learning driven recommendations,” added Singh.
Ithaka has launched its bot ‘Sparrow’ to move towards a hybrid human-bot experience, and is looking to automate its experience in chunks.
Image Credit: Ithaka