Tom Valentine: Secret Escapes
Hand-picked hotels. Members-only rates
Tom Valentine, 31
Company: Secret Escapes
Even the most luxurious hotels don’t like having empty rooms. It is this plain fact that makes Secret Escapes, founded in 2010, such a great proposition for both customers and hotel and holiday suppliers alike. Secret Escapes negotiates exclusive rates for luxury hand-picked hotels and holidays in the UK and abroad at up to 70% off the price you’d pay by booking anywhere else. The founding team has been able to bring extensive digital start-up knowledge and experience to the venture, with Valentine having worked at eBay and Seatwave, and co-founders Alex Saint and Troy Collins from Dealchecker. Investors have flocked to become involved, and include Octopus, Atlas Ventures, Robin Klein (Index), Alex Chesterman (Zoopla), Andy McLoughlin (Huddle) and Sokratis Papafloratis (TrustedPlaces).
Since being named a 2012 Young Gun, Valentines’ Secret Escapes received a further £8m investment from existing investors Octopus Ventures and Atlas Venture in a funding round led by Index Ventures. The company, which experienced an astonishing 1,400% growth in the 12 months prior to August 2012, is set to use the latest instalment to fund global expansion.