The business travel booking company Lola now has two of Boston’s best-known technology executives at its helm, after cofounder Paul English said Monday that the Fort Point company has brought on Mike Volpe as chief executive.
English, who was cofounder of popular search engine Kayak, will remain president and chief technology officer at Lola. Volpe, who has been a marketing and sales executive at HubSpot and the cybersecurity startup Cybereason, will build a strategy to sell Lola’s AI-powered travel service to companies.
“I am not a numbers guy,” said English, who noted that his new role will be closer to the position he held at Kayak, the travel site he sold to Priceline.com for $1.8 billion in 2012.
“I spend more time just iterating on ‘What makes this product better? What do customers like about it? What do customers hate about it?’ ” English said. “That’s my comfort zone.”
Lola, which has raised about $45 million in venture capital and has around 50 employees, shifted its business strategy a year ago to focus on business accounts, rather than personal users. The technology behind Lola uses a conversational interface to help users book hotels and flights and offers managers a way to oversee their employees’ travel spending.
Though the three-year-old company declined to discuss its performance, English said it has been trying to expand its customer base beyond the Boston area and its current focus on small companies with between 20 and 50 employees.
Volpe, who takes over Aug. 1, said his priority is to build out the company’s sales team, which has one dedicated person. The role will be his first as chief executive.
He was a major player in the emergence of the marketing software company HubSpot, but was fired in 2015 amid allegations the company had tried to block publication of a critical book that writer Dan Lyons penned about his time working for the company.
Volpe joined Cybereason the following year, and he said Monday that he would not have left if not for the offer by Lola and English. Volpe is joining Lola’s board of directors, and English will retain a seat, as well.
“He’s built a great team here, and I think he’s by far one of the best technical and product people out there,” Volpe said of English.Andy Rosen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.