California hospitality platform Zingle raises $11 million, acquires Philly AI startup

Tom Paine

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California-based hospitality platform Zingle announced $11 million in venture capital funding last week , from PeakSpan Capital.

At the same time, the company said it had acquired a Philadelphia AI startup, Presto (sometimes referred to as Presto AI), apparently late last year.

From Presto's LinkedIn page, this description:

Acquired in 2018, Presto developed predictive NLP models that perform the world's best classification, similarity analysis, and entity recognition in the hospitality domain. We set out to improve the quality and efficiency of text based guest interactions in hotels. Presto's mission is to create experiences better than humanly possible.

Presto was started by a team at the University of Pennsylvania passionate about hospitality, computational linguistics, and data science.

According to Zingle's press release:

With the acquisition of Philadelphia-based Presto AI, a hospitality-focused, computational linguistics, and data science team, the Zingle platform has evolved significantly. By analyzing and learning from millions of monthly messages exchanged between guests and hotels, the solution is able to categorize over 150 different intents, making responses smarter and more personalized. Message data is also stored in Zingle’s analytics and can be used to inform data-driven decisions, i.e., using message volume trends to make smarter staffing decisions.

"Through the acquisition of the Presto AI team, the Zingle platform has taken a significant step forward,” continued Blakely. “Zingle is now uniquely positioned to provide hotels an AI-equipped solution that meets growing consumer demand for both digital engagement and automated onsite convenience while improving guest engagement intelligence from booking to check-out."

There was a similarly targeted startup in Philly a few years ago (can't remember name) that didn't quite take off.