It has taken a long time for rail companies and governments to loosen their grip on the data they control. Now that its happened, GoEuro and others operating in multi-modal metasearch are well placed to take advantage.
The CEO of multi-modal travel platform GoEuro is planning to use part of a new $70 million investment round to help boost awareness among consumers.
The Berlin-based company, which helps users find the best way to travel using cars, buses, rail and airlines, for example, has grown steadily since its launch four years ago but founder Naren Shaam wants to generate more of a buzz with the travelling public.
Shaam told Skift that he also wants to continue expanding into more territories and to improve the mobile offering.
“One [area] is just coverage. We’re in 12 countries and have 500 partners, we want to grow those to the rest of Europe. There’s 30-plus countries,” he said.
“The second one is more on the mobile product side. We have a very large consumer base on mobile and we want to bring a very simple one-place ticketing experience for the space. You know 80% of the whole industry sells tickets offline or at the station on average.
“And really the third thing is to accelerate consumer awareness. We haven’t done much in terms of branding and we definitely want to invest more into letting consumers know we have such a large coverage.”
For a long time, companies wanting to open up transport networks across Europe faced resistance from governments as well as rail operators who were reluctant to give up their data.
Trains in particular – unlike airlines – were difficult to co-ordinate because there were no recognised global standards.
Gradually, however, they have been “wired up,” meaning that organising travel across different modes of transport is a good deal easier than it was.
“There is no GDS, like an Amadeus or a Sabre, so that’s really what we do. Yes, it is difficult but if it was easy someone would have solved it so that’s why we exist,” Shaam said.
Shaaam believes there is plenty more room to expand in Europe and also identified Latin America and Asia as potential new areas. The US isn’t a focus because it is “not dominated by ground transport.”
At the Skift Global Forum, Aaron Gowell co-founder of SilverRail, which is putting diverse rail options online, said that one of the next big travel tech developments would come in the simplification of inner city travel but this isn’t an area that Shaam is currently looking at.
“We only do this for long-distance transport. We don’t play in inner city public transport because it’s just a very different market, [with] very different consumer behaviour.”
The latest round of investment in GoEuro was led by Silver Lake Kraftwerk and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. It follows a funding round in December 2015 of $45 million with $145 million raised in total.
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Photo credit: A French TGV train. GoEuro has secured an additional $70 million in funding. Nelso Silva / Flickr