Entrepreneurs / Funding / Startups

Philly hospitality tech startup HopSkip raises $3M seed round

Formerly bootstrapped, the hotel booking company is seeing a surge in interest as events and conferences return.

The Notary Hotel in Center City Philadelphia (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

A Philadelphia hospitality tech company that helps event planners book hotel spaces raised a $3 million seed round.

“We decided to fundraise to triple down on our beliefs and conviction of our platform solving a real problem and wanting to continue innovating and empowering our customers,” Sean Whalin, cofounder and CEO of HopSkip, told

Center City-based HopSkip was a runner up on the 2020 RealLIST Startups list, but soon after that the company was impacted by the pandemic and the pause in in-person events.

During that time, the company tried to stay connected to its customers and community. It hosted webinars with industry attorneys that coached event planners and hotels about how to deal with event cancellations and adjust to event guidelines.

There was a silver lining: The effort the company put in during the pandemic set it up to be a thought leader in the industry, Whalin said, and showed its commitment to their customers. Now, HopSkip is reaping the benefits — as a profitable company.

“By doing all of that has kind of set us up for some really good momentum,” Whalin said. “And tailwinds that we’re experiencing now in 2024.”

Three white men dressed in business attire stand side by side against a plain white background. The man on the left wears a dark blazer, the middle man wears glasses and a patterned blazer, and the right man wears a light gray blazer.

HopSkip co-founders Greg Leizerowicz, Sean Whalin and Luke Whalin (Courtesy)

The entire seed investment came from venture capital firm Conductive Ventures. This is the company’s first raise, as it was bootstrapped for its first five years. In general, bootstrapped companies tend to be more successful than venture-backed companies, with a 61% success rate compared to 41%, according to a report from Gitnux. Around 40% of bootstrapped companies remain profitable after five years.

Founded in 2019, HopSkip targets meeting and hospitality professionals and helps them book event spaces and room blocks at hotels. There are now over 150,000 hotels on HopSkip, per Whalin.

The new funding will be used for new hires, for marketing to grow the customer base, and for improvements to the company’s platform, he said. Plans include adding artificial intelligence features and increasing the global database of venues offered on the platform, including beyond its current reach in Europe and North America. Whalin also wants to add the ability to source convention centers.

HopSkip currently has 10 employees, but is now planning to almost double its staff over the next 18 months, mostly in sales and engineering roles, Whalin said.

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.

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