Creating room in a crowd

Paul and Steve

Sometimes it’s never too late to join a crowded market. Just ask Paul English and Steve Hafner, who today announced an agreement to sell Kayak to Priceline for about $1.8 billion.

Today, Kayak’s promise of ‘One and Done’ is well known as befits a company that fielded 600 million travel queries in the first half of 2012 and whose mobile app has been downloaded nearly 17 million times.   

However, the world looked different in 2004 when Paul and Steve decided to start a company in an industry teeming with competitors such as Expedia, Orbitz, Hotwire, Priceline, Travelocity, LastMinute.com and plenty of others. These sites, plus thousands of hotel and airline sites, which all furnished their own confusing and biased results, is what fueled the frustration that gave Kayak a chance. It’s hard to remember but before Kayak it could take thirty minutes to book a flight or reserve a room.

Founded in 2004 by Steve Hafner and Paul English. “Steve and I went downstairs… had a couple drinks. And within 45 minutes we agreed to do it as co-founders.”

Founded in 2004 by Steve Hafner and Paul English. “Steve and I went downstairs… had a couple drinks. And within 45 minutes we agreed to do it as co-founders.”