By Joana Morais
The students ended their third day in San Francisco at Hotel Tonight, the startup responsible for developing the HotelTonight app. The mobile travel app helps consumers find discounted hotel accommodation at the last minute. We were welcomed by Amanda Richardson, Chief Data and Strategy Officer and ‘01 McIntire alum, who greeted us with her friendly wit. The students engaged in a deep discussion about Amanda’s journey to Hotel Tonight, the company’s rise to the third largest hotel booking engine, and its prospective growth opportunities. Founder, Sam Shank, later joined the discussion to answer some of the student’s questions and further talk about his experience founding a total of three travel startups.
The evening of fun continued as the Digital Safari class was joined by other students from the HackCville trip, alumni from various backgrounds, and a panel of fascinating professionals. Panelist included:
Linda Abraham, Parent ’17,’18
Entrepreneur, investor; Managing Director, Crimson Capital; Vice Chair, Upskill; comScore co-founder
Paul Holland MA ’84
General Partner, Foundation Capital (16 years); Produced acclaimed documentary about early days of Silicon Valley Something Ventured
Amanda Richardson, McIntire ‘01
Chief Data & Strategy Officer, HotelTonight been at HT Since 2014; Former Head of Product at Prezi
Tyler Wisnand ’90
Creative Director – Apple; Previously at Wieden and Kennedy in Portland
Linda Yates, BA Foreign Affairs ’85
CEO, Mach49; Co-founder and CEO of Strategos; Decade on the board at Sybase
Panelists discussed their careers in tech, venture capital, and design as well as their encounters with diversity in the tech industry and how companies have managed to stay relevant in this ever-changing environment.
The night ended with the students getting to personally interact with the many UVA alumni who generously volunteered their time.