Duetto Research is building a flexible, cloud-based big-data application for hotels, and some well-known VCs have bet big on its success
A Q&A with Duetto Research co-founder and CEO Patrick Bosworth. The San Francisco–based company was founded in 2012 and closed a $10 million Series A funding round in mid-December. Investors include Battery Ventures, Altimeter Capital, Thayer Ventures, Trinity Ventures and Marc Benioff.
SUB: Please describe Duetto Research and your value proposition.
Bosworth: We are building a modern cloud application tailored to meet the specific needs of the travel industry and hotel companies in particular. Most hotels lack accurate and adaptable systems to help hoteliers and owners easily understand trends, make operational forecasts and predictions, and identify new opportunities at the single property level or group wide. Every hotel needs to run its business more efficiently and optimize demand in order to maximize profit. We help hotels run better and make more money.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Bosworth: Our target market is the hotel industry. Users in the industry include national and international hotel brands, owners, chains and independent hotel properties.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Bosworth: There is no one-to-one match to any competitors but the closest are hotel revenue management system vendors, including IDeaS, EasyRMS, Rainmaker and Maxim.
SUB: What differentiates Duetto Research from the competition?
Bosworth: Duetto is the only cloud-based, disruptive technology in this space leveraging new data sets and modern usability to transform the pricing and marketing of hotels. The hotel industry has huge pent up demand for Operational Intelligence. There is now a long list of prominent industry leaders who are investors and advisors in Duetto who share our vision for the industry and who are pushing Duetto Edge into their organizations. We have paying customers, as well as pilot implementations ongoing with numerous types of hotels—from resorts, to casinos, to full-service hotels, to economy properties.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Bosworth: The company was founded in 2012. Founder Marco Benvenuti and me were working in the hotel industry exploring ways to improve the capability of hotels to respond to volatile customer demand. Increasingly, we recognized that new technology was needed to unlock the tremendous opportunities of new data sources to deliver operational insights. Our third founder, Craig Weissman, served as the CTO at Salesforce.com, and is at the forefront of technologists in big data applications. Craig was looking for an opportunity to develop a vertical, industry-specific product to solve tangible problems and the hotel industry and this opportunity matched his requirements well.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Duetto Research? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Bosworth: There was no specific ‘aha’ moment and we continue to learn about opportunities to help hotels improve from our customers and the data we are collecting. Marco and I realized over time that new technology was needed to move our industry forward, and Craig brought a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and inspiration to the creative process. We are following the lean startup model in order to position Duetto to learn and innovate rapidly.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Bosworth: The word ‘duetto’ has special resonance to us personally and we like the connotation of partnership with our customers.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Bosworth: Like any startup, we have had to learn when to say ‘no’ to since there are always far more opportunities to explore than resources to pursue them. Hiring top talent has been a tangible challenge and now we are entering a new phase of growth that requires new people, so we are having to make choices about which customers to take on at what time to ensure that we continue to exceed the expectations of the customers that purchase Duetto Edge.
SUB: You recently raised $10 million in Series A funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Bosworth: As we scale the business, the funds will give us the opportunity to hire in engineering, sales and support, and to introduce Duetto to the industry.
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise more funding?
Bosworth: We have an active, committed group of investors who are eager to see the company grow and Duetto Edge achieve market dominance. With the early progress we made, our investors made a compelling offer that we accepted so that we can continue to focus on our mission to help hotels maximize their profits.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Bosworth: Duetto is a software-as-a-service company so we earn revenue by selling subscriptions for our first product—Duetto Edge.
SUB: What are your goals for Duetto Research over the next year or so?
Bosworth: We are enjoying tremendous interest in Duetto Edge, so the focus for the next year is on the success of customers.
Duetto Research – www.duettoresearch.com