Skift Take

As we have said and covered time and time again here at Skift, the delta between what gets funded and what actually works in travel has been huge over the last decade, and it may finally be catching up as investors are fed up of bad travel startup ideas, and even poorer execution.

The litany of failed consumer travel startups is a familiar one, and all the more so because the sheer number of sub-standard startups in this sector out number almost any other sector.

What’s a relatively new trend is these sub-standard, sub-scaled startups getting a soft landing by being acquired by larger companies, usually for tiny amounts of cash and stock, sometimes for technology but mostly for talent, what the tech industry calls acqhires.

Two such soft-landings in travel were announced yesterday, though the extent and size of these landings are still undisclosed, and we may know more later.

Most of the investors have had enough, and an increasing number of angels, seed and even later stage investors have been shying away from consumer travel startups not directly in the booking and transaction space.

And some investors have even started speaking out openly on forums like Twitter, some directly addressing travel sub-sectors like the tours and activities space; and some more indirectly about the soft-landing of failed startups and the need to be less self-congratulatory about the outcomes in these cases.

An interesting discussion ensued yesterday based on at least one of the startups that was acquired yesterday: SideTour’s acquisition by Groupon. We have collected a few of these tweets in a Storify embed below, be sure to read the tweets from Shai Goldman, venture partner at seed investment firm 500 Startups, and Mark Birch, seed investor and entrepreneur.


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Tags: sidetour, tours

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