June 4, 2023


Moving Forward

UK Online Travel Entrepreneur Hugo Burge Dies at 51

Hugo Burge, a British entrepreneur, startup trader, and arts supporter perhaps finest recognized as the former CEO of both Cheapflights and then the Momondo Group, died at his home on Wednesday.

“A horrible and unanticipated loss,” mentioned David Soskin, who labored as a co-trader with Burge across two decades. “He was considerably also modest about his abilities, not only as a effective engineering CEO and investor but also as a creator of an arts and crafts middle at Marchmont House, his spectacular Palladian residence in Scotland.”

In 2000, Burge co-established Howzat Media, a organization investing in digital organizations. An early financial commitment was in British isles-headquartered online journey discounts company Cheapflights, when it was a 3-man or woman operation.

Burge encouraged and grew to become CEO of Cheapflights, aiding it develop to the place that in 2011 it acquired Denmark-primarily based travel-rate comparison site Momondo. Burge became CEO of the put together Momondo Team and employed financial institution credit card debt, serviced out of dollars circulation, to generate an business with extra than 350 personnel. In 2014, personal equity expense injected $130 million.

In 2017, the Priceline Team (now Booking Holdings) obtained Momondo Group for $550 million.

“It swiftly became obvious to all of us that Hugo was a businessman from the top shelf, smart, empathetic, calm, analytical, mathematical, and very hardworking,” claimed Martin Lumbye. who achieved Burge in 2009 when Burge was CEO and major shareholder of Cheapflights Media, and he was then a associate and section of the crew that negotiated the merger and sale of Momondo to Cheapflights. “Hugo’s history as an incarnate English gentleman was not only a fashion but also an sincere section of his persona.”

Together the way, Burge performed an early-phase investor in startups, mainly journey ones, by way of one more business, Howzat Ventures. 1 early investment was in Trivago. By 2012, when the firm exited Triavgo, the startup experienced a $1 billion valuation.

Following the Momondo Team offer and the Trivago payout, Burge stepped down as CEO and still left online vacation.

In 2018, The Instances of London, in standard British cheek, explained at the time that Burge “may be the nation’s most suitable bachelor.” The quotation seemed to mortify him.

Then-Momondo Group CEO Hugo Burge (remaining) speaking at Skift Discussion board Europe in London in April 2017.

Supporter of Tradition

The Momondo sale led Burge to generate a new fund, Marchmont Ventures, that supported routines with the supreme function of constructing “sustainable creativity.”

Burge and Alan Martin, formerly main fiscal officer at Momondo Group, ran the fund. Investments have included supporting the re-start of an artwork truthful in southern Scotland.

Burge dreamt of transforming Marchmont Residence — a mansion in Greenlaw, Scotland — into a residence for creators.

In 1988, Burge’s father Oliver, as a director of Marchmont Farms Ltd., bought element of the Marchmont estate. Then father and son acquired the home together in 2007. Since 2011, Hugo Burge jointly led a restoration of the dwelling and, because, late 2020, encouraged the internet hosting of artists, artisans, and other creators. Burge was one particular of the UK’s best-profile champions of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Marchmont House
Marchmont Property, in Scotland, exactly where Hugo Burge had a flat. Supply: Marchmont House

Good friends Keep in mind

Information unfold on Thursday of Burge’s demise, startling good friends and former colleagues.

“We’re all still in shock at the passing of our beloved Hugo,” stated Alan Martin, who labored alongside Burge as a main money officer at Cheapflights and Momondo and subsequently at Marchmont Ventures.

Sarah Hanan, chief business officer at DoHop, had previously labored with Burge at Momondo Group. She reported: “Hugo was a legitimate gentleman, a fantastic leader, and a close friend. His tenacity and eyesight drove the world wide achievements of Cheapfights, and later Momondo. He produced a wonderful function culture that all ex-Cheapflighters however discuss about today. We will miss out on him terribly.”

hugo burge marchmont house marchmont ventures
Demonstrated right here is a pipe organ getting played in 2018 for the to start with time publicly considering the fact that it was restored at Marchmont House. Supply: Marchmont Property.

A different man or woman saddened by Burge’s passing was Kate Irwin, taking care of director EMEA for Skift, who as soon as worked at Momondo Group.

“He was an inspirational chief in business enterprise and a wise, kind-hearted, and considerate person that I will miss out on,” Irwin claimed. “Sending my views and prayers to his friends and household.”

“Hugo was a quite particular person and transformed the lives of those fortunate more than enough to know him,” claimed Phil Bloomfield, who led communications at Cheapflights and now does so at dNata Journey Team.

An illustration of Hugo Burge that was finished as element of Skift’s Definitive Oral Record of On the net Journey.

If you have been a business enterprise journalist and on your way to meet or chat on the cellphone with Hugo Burge, irrespective of the circumstances you realized you would be conversing and joking all around with a guy who normally experienced a prepared quip and wry remark, and was ever an insightful entrepreneur.

Here’s an audio clip of Burge in 2016, as aspect of Skift’s Definitive Oral Heritage of On the web Travel, describing Priceline’s years-before failed start in the British isles.

On the internet journey veteran Krista Pappas got to know Burge in the early 2000s and arrived to take pleasure in him as a “flame thrower,” which means a issue solver.

“Hugo by no means missing his sense of humor,” Pappas reported. “We had a operating joke that he was training to be the world’s to start with flame-throwing Olympian. Meanwhile, his seaside volleyball techniques were being just as superior as his swimming.”

Pappas recalled Burge as “a superb human staying, not only for all his kindness and accomplishments but also for his terrific wit, infectious strength, and spirit. He brought joy and laughter to absolutely everyone and his really like for experience inspired plenty of other individuals to take a look at the planet all over them. Pretty unhappy indeed.”

An Instagram put up on Thursday from his arts firm Marchmont Household reported that Burge’s loved ones questioned for privateness. Preparations for a memorial service have but to be announced.

Skift’s Dennis Schaal contributed to this story.