Skift Take

The bar for success is higher than usual for these companies because of their unlikeliness: an online seller of cruise trips, a traditional "high street" travel agency, a network of freelance photographers, and a maker of eyewear that records 360-degree-video.

Each week we create a roundup of travel startups that have received or announced funding that week. The total amount raised this week was more than $31 million.

>>Dreamlines, an online cruise travel agency based in Hamburg, has had a top-up investment round of $19 million (€18 million). The latest backing follows an investment round in August 2016. Founded in 2012, it has raised $72 million to date from Dimaventures, Hasso Plattner Ventures Management, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Altpoint Capital Partners, and Target Global.

Dreamlines has specialized in European cruises though it increasingly offers inventory worldwide, claiming 30,000 cruises in its inventory. The funding will let it increase its staffing. It says it has more than 350 staff members today.

blue bay travel

>>Blue Bay Travel, an agency based in the U.K., specializes in Caribbean destinations but also does ones worldwide. The company received has secured a $8.1 million (£6.5 million) investment from LDC, a private equity firm.

Founded in 2003 by Stuart and Angela Wilson, the company provided vacation packages to more than 16,000 passengers last year. The investment will be used to build out the company’s proprietary price comparison technology and to enhance its online booking platform.


>>OrbiPrime manufactures video recording glasses that offer wraparound 4K video recording, ideal for travelers looking to record parts of their journeys.

The company got its start by raising $280,000 via the Indiego crowd-funding platform. But this week the Berkeley, Calif.-based startup said it had raised an additional $3.5 million from investor Kenges Rakishev. With 90 minutes of recording time and a promised water-resistant shell, the smart eyewear lets users share their experiences to social networks via built-in Wi-Fi. The first sets are due to ship, at about $349 a pair, later this summer.


>>Travelshoot, a platform for matching travelers with freelance photographers, was founded by Sarah Pearce in 2015 on Australia’s Gold Coast. It caught fire when it was picked as the country’s best new startup on the TV show My Shark Tank Australia, and when Flight Centre, the country’s largest travel agency brand, signed a distribution deal to upsell customers on photography packages in return for a cut of the sales.

The startup has raised $385,000 (A$500,000) from Steve Baxter’s Transition Level Investments and Queensland University of Technology’s Creative Enterprises Australia Startup Fund. The company has vetted more than 100 photographers in 30 cities worldwide, and it sees growth potential with possible corporate deals.

>>Given that its early focus is on business jets rather than commercial airliners, we’ll mention this deal only as a side note: SmartSky, a technology provider of in-flight internet to aircraft, received $66 million in investment. The Charlotte, N.C.-company is investing in building about 10,000 towers across the U.S. to send 4G signals to aircraft.

For now, it’s mostly focused on non-commercial aircraft, though it sees its service as complementary to Gogo Inflight’s satellite-based services for commercial airlines when it comes to operational (as opposed to passenger) uses of the internet.

>>One other piece of startup news we will also mention in passing: Stockholm-based investment firm Vostok New Ventures reveals in an annual report that it has invested $76 million (€72 million) in car-sharing platform BlaBlaCar, by acquiring shares from other BlaBlaCar shareholders, Luxor Capital and Lead Edge Capital. The move gives the Paris-based startup a valuation of $1.33 billion.

Check out our previous startup funding roundups, here.


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Tags: funding, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: For the second time in a year, Dreamlines, an online cruise travel agency based in Hamburg, has received a significant investment. Dreamlines

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