Today we are launching the latest report in our Skift Trends Reports service, New Skift Trends Report: 2016 Venture Investment Trends in Travel.
A closer look at some of 2016’s biggest travel startup funding deals to date point to a number of investment trends. One is continued fundraising by travel startup titans Airbnb and Uber, both of whom have chosen to stay private and grow using debt and private equity rather than attempt an initial public offering (IPO). Another new shift is the growing travel startup interest from established companies like JetBlue, Marriott, and Audi, all of whom are experimenting with startup incubators or making strategic investments in early-stage companies. The last trend is the increasing range of travel startup funding moving to developing markets like India.
Despite these promising signs, the very nature of investment in the travel startup space remains complicated. Both founders and VC investors have emphasized the specific difficulties of building a startup in the travel industry, where new companies face stiff headwinds from dominant incumbents and there are growth challenges due to consumers’ sporadic travel purchase habits. B2B travel startups have trouble as well, as travel business owners are often not tech-savvy, and often have limited budgets to experiment with new innovations. In the future, many investors and founders are looking to new technologies like artificial intelligence, personalization, and messaging “chatbots” as key areas of interest and experimentation.
Looking at broader funding trends in travel startup investing can tell us a lot about the state of the industry and the broader economy. But using these macro-level figures alone doesn’t tell us much about the deeper factors shaping the current travel startup scene. What types of companies are getting the most investment? What investment models are founders using to fund these startups? What parts of the world are seeing the most interest? One of the best ways to answer these questions is looking at which startups received the most funding in 2016. Here’s that list, collected by Skift using its own reporting and data from other websites that track startup deals:
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