Boston-based Passkey Systems Inc., which operates a portal for convention
industry hotel reservations, said it has raised $4 million in venture capital
in a third round of financing.
The company said it is doubling its sales volume each quarter and will process
$9 million of group hotel reservations in March.
Lazard Technology Partners, the venture capital arm of Lazard Freres &
Company, DRV Investment Group and individual investors participated in the
round, which was led by Lazard’s $3 million investment.
The company also announced a name change today to Passkey.com, to better characterize its
position as an Internet portal for group bookings in a travel industry segment
that the company says is “estimated to produce more than 100 million hotel
reservations per year.”
Passkey’s “ResDesk” reservation system features a central database accessed
via the Internet by meeting planners, hotels and group housing service
providers such as convention and visitors bureaus to set up and manage hotel
room inventory via any Internet connection. The system also permits attendees
to access this live hotel room inventory via the Web and through Internet-
enabled call centers connected to Passkey’s database.
“We have harnessed the Internet to connect this important industry to a real-
time transaction and reporting environment, and are experiencing tremendous
growth. . .” said Roger Paradis, president and chief executive officer. “We are
leveraging the Internet to create breakthrough efficiencies in an industry
largely driven by manual processing, and in doing so have created a compelling
e-commerce opportunity that we expect to be profitable by year’s end.”
“It’s been one year since we first invested in Passkey, and this continues to be an
important portfolio investment for Lazard,” said Russ Planitzer, managing principal for Lazard Technology Partners. “Passkey’s market presence and
progress to date are impressive, and Passkey is indeed well positioned to
become the de facto industry standard in the group hotel booking space.”
Funding will be used to bolster the management team, maintain the company’s
technology and launch various marketing initiatives in 1999 and 2000.