Skift Take

TripActions' funding adds buzz to a category of startups aiming to incentivize travelers to book travel more cheaply, while Bluesmart's fresh funding validates the electronic luggage category.

Each week we create a roundup of travel startups that have just received or announced funding.

The total raised this week was more than $39.5 million.

>>TripActions, a booking tool for travelers outside of corporate programs, has closed a $14.6 million Series A round. Oren Zeev of Zeev Ventures led the equity investment, and Arif Janmohamed of Lightspeed Venture Partners also pitched in. The 40-person startup, based in Menlo Park, Calif., has already attracted 70 customers, including Survey Monkey and eHarmony.

Chief executive Ariel Cohen says that his startup found that business travelers often “do not think of company money as their own”. By encouraging employees to choose cheaper options with the help of incentives, TripActions believes it can save companies 30% on their travel budget, on average.

The sector of incentivizing travelers is hot. Earlier this month Upside said it raised $50 million. Another market leader, Rocketrip, has raised $17 million, to date.

>>Bluesmart, a manufacturer of luggage with built-in electronics, has raised fresh funding.

Previously announced funding raised in 2015 totaled $6.5 million in notes and $5 million in venture debt. Bluesmart has now raised an additional $5.5 million from new investors, with Michael Li of Tsing Capital as the lead investor, and the company has converted the previous $6.5 million in an official Series A. The total capital Bluesmart has raised in equity, to date, is $14.5 million including crowdfunding but not including venture debt.

The New York-based startup says it has sold 40,000 units of its bags, which track themselves, lock themselves, tell travelers if they’ve been opened or lost, and charge gadgets. It even weighs itself. The company’s success suggests that digital suitcases could be the biggest thing since wheels were added four decades ago.

Bluesmart famously got its start through crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, which helped it to raise $2.7 million. Bluesmart’s co-founder Diego Saez-Gil talked about what it’s like to build a travel company using crowdfunding at the Skift Global Forum New York City 2015. This winter the company replaced Saez-Gil with Tomi Pierucci as chief executive. Saez-Gil is now executive chairman of the board.

>>Local Measure, a customer intelligence startup based in Sydney, has announced a $3.4 million capital raise. Its platform helps hotels secure positive reviews while guests are still on properties (and while problems can be alleviated in the moment) and it helps destination marketers analyze visitor intelligence to encourage loyalty and repeat visits.

Local Measure says it is in use at hotels, theme parks, and tourism businesses in more than 380 cities worldwide. Current clients include AccorHotels, Hard Rock, Virgin Hotels, Qantas, and Club Med. This year it expects to expand to more than 1,000 hotels in the U.S., and it will use the funding to open offices in Dubai and Los Angeles, adding to offices in Sydney, Singapore, London, and Miami.

>>EasyMile, a start-up company building electric driverless shuttles, has raised $15 million, led by Alstom, a technology provider to railway companies, which is taking a minority stake.

EasyMile’s shuttles carry up to a dozen passengers at a time. Its shuttles are in use in more than 50 spots in 14 countries. The company is based in Toulouse, Singapore, and Denver. It employs 60.

You can check out all our previous startup funding roundups, here.

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Tags: funding, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: TripActions, pictured here, raised a $14.6 million Series A round this week to help it expand its booking tool for travelers outside of corporate programs. TripActions

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