Start-up Impala names former Nest head in Europe as new chief operating officer

Start-up Impala names former Nest head in Europe as new chief operating officer

Lionel Paillet worked for Apple prior to Google’s smart home device division

Start-up hotel room distribution tech firm Impala has appointed the senior executive who headed up Google’s Nest smart home device division in EMEA as chief operating officer.

Lionel Paillet built and led the European team at Nest as the business was acquired by the search giant.

Previously headed sales for Apple in 15 European countries during exponential growth for the consumer tech giant.

Impala said Paillet’s “experience and outlook slot perfectly” into its mission to reimagine the infrastructure of travel and rebuild it from the ground up.

Paillet said: “Today we are at the beginning, but I want everyone to see how much better Impala’s technology can make things.

“Looking retrospectively, the success of Apple and Nest’s products feels like it was always inevitable, but it takes real effort to show people that a better way is possible.

“Travel is overdue reinvention and I’ve joined Impala to make it happen.”

Paillet’s appointment comes after Impala brought in Caroline Hudack as chief marketing officer from Airbnb where she worked after three-and-a-half years in senior global marketing roles at Facebook.

Robin Clifford has also joined as vice president of global supply having previously led supply in Northern Europe for Airbnb and held senior roles at

Ben Stephenson, Impala chief executive, said: “At Impala we’re helping the world reimagine travel and enabling business models that have been impossible for decades.

“To do this, we’re assembling the best team in travel. Lionel is a proven world-class operator and I’m delighted to have someone of his calibre on board.”

London-based Impala promotes its open and transparent system as “removing the barriers of old travel tech”.

Operators, TMCs and other room sellers use it to access the right inventory for their business “in minutes, rather than months”, the firm says.

The firm adds its technology allows hotels to regain control of their distribution while reaching new partners and markets “at a fraction of the time it takes with other players, with zero integration costs”.

Impala has investment backing from Lakestar, Kima Ventures, Stride VC and Latitude—who backed Airbnb, Trivago and Deliveroo.