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Despite stalled growth in China, Brazil and Russia, a wave of newly middle-class travelers from the BRICs and beyond will start visiting international destinations in the coming decades — dwarfing the numbers we’ve seen thus far.
Air travel has long been the primary focus of online travel innovation, but new business models are emerging that tap into the complimentary parts of the travel experience. None have yet to capture the volume of users or profits as the air travel search and booking sites.
Mozio, a search site for airport ground transport, announced last week a $750,000 seed round of funding. The site, which launched almost two years ago, currently aggregates taxi, limousine, and shuttle options at airports around the world.
This is the second funding round for Mozio, which raised $185,000 from Orbitz chairman Jeff Clarke and others around the time of launch.
The startup’s goal is to create a database of ground transport options that other travel websites and companies can integrate into their search offerings.
“To acquire a new traveler, companies like Expedia and Priceline are spending billions every year. They are looking for any way they can make an extra buck, and that’s what we are giving them: one API connection or white-label solution with hundreds of brands in hundreds of locations, from normal taxis, limos and shuttles, to express trains, scheduled bus services, sea planes and helicopters,” claims Mozio founder and CEO David Litwak.
Mozio is not the only airline attempting to build a global distribution system, like ITA Software for flight search, for new markets. SilverRail recently raised $40 million to build rail search and distribution technologies and Wanderu has raised $2.45 million for a bus travel search site.
One of the primary challenges for Mozio will be collecting all local options available at each airport and a quick search for New York City leaves off several options such as the local Dial 7 car service and the trendier Uber option.
Thirteen venture capitalists, online travel executives and firms contributed to the seed round. The full list of investors includes CarTrawler founder Gregory Turley, Orbitz chairman Jeff Clarke, HOWZAT Partners, VirtualTourist.com and Trippy.com founder J.R. Johnson, Smarter Travel Media founder Daniel Saul, Clicktripz CEO Ross Weber, and RateGain CEO Bhanu Chopra. Other investors in this round include BulletTime Ventures, Startup Studio Ventures, Galvanize, Blake Marino Woodard, Bradley Schwartz, David Bellet and TEC Ventures.