Read the Sustainable Industries interview
Founder and CEO
Dan Whaley was an early pioneer in e-commerce-innovating numerous technical and commercial practices in widespread use today.
In early 1994, foreseeing the possibility of e-commerce, Dan developed the first basic software platform allowing any general business to be transacted online. In the fall of that year he created an online presence for a west-coast restaurant delivery company, Waiters on Wheels, that conducted one of the first retail transactions over made over the web.
About the same time, while reviewing major commercial categories he realized that travel reservations were ideally suited to the online world, and founded Internet Travel Network (ITN.com)-later renamed GetThere-with his father and a good friend. In June of 1995, the first travel reservation ever made over the web was booked through a web server based out of his Palo Alto, CA home (it was a San Francisco - Las Vegas round trip). Today, travel is the dominant worldwide e-commerce category- 40 cents of every consumer dollar spent online is spent on travel.
Dan's technical skills (he wrote most of the software for the early ITN system), business instincts and strategic thinking, along with a world class management team, helped propel GetThere quickly to its leadership position, outmaneuvering both Microsoft and Sabre in the highly competitive business travel segment. In four years, GetThere was the dominant provider of Internet-based travel reservation functionality to the airline, corporate and leisure travel industries--booking more web-based travel reservations than any other competitor. After an IPO in 1999, the company was sold to The Sabre Group (NYSE: TSG) in 2000 for $750 million-nearly 1/3 of Sabre's market cap. This still stands as the largest cash deal for an Internet company.
Under Sabre, GetThere continues to host the online reservation function for travel industry customers such as United Airlines and American Express, as well as major international corporate customers such as Procter and Gamble, Chevron, Nokia, and Cisco. The GetThere product today commands close to 75% market share within Fortune 200 companies where it enables ordinary business travelers to book reservations within corporate policy at the lowest possible price. It processes more B2B transaction revenue than any other system in the world.
The ITN/GetThere business pioneered many basic concepts now in broad use within online commerce, such as the concept of a database driven website, the service bureau or Application Service Provider (ASP) business model and the "private labeled" site, which leverages a core set of functionality and user-interface elements across a broad set of customers.
In 1996, Dan was recognized by Business Travel News as one of the "Top 25 Most Influential Executives" in the travel industry. He has received numerous other awards and has spoken and served in a variety of capacities within both the Internet and travel industries.
A self-taught computer programmer, he earlier wrote one of the first software systems to detect reversals of the earth's magnetic pole in cryogenically cooled deep-sea sediment samples for Dr. John King at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography. He has also participated in two NSF-funded JGOFS (Joint Global Ocean Flux Study) cruises in the Equatorial Pacific where he helped run a piston-coring apparatus to obtain seafloor samples along the Tahiti-Hawaii transect.
Dan earned his BA in English from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1990. He has traveled extensively, including bicycling solo across the United States, driving overland from California to Argentina and living with Tibetan refugees in Nepal. He is an avid inline skater, a licensed private pilot and a certified ham radio operator.
Dan currently resides in San Francisco, CA.