Skift Take

Travefy solidifies its business with travel management companies, TravelCar brings its car rental solution to U.S. airports, NIDA Rooms expands its branded budget hotel room model in Southeast Asia, and more news in our weekly roundup.

Let’s start with some of the happenings on the travel tech startup scene. Travefy, an itinerary management and client communication platform, said this week that it has acquired for an undisclosed sum Los Angeles-based travel agent itinerary platform TripScope, which has been renamed and absorbed.

Lincoln, Nebraska-based Travefy says that it has signed up more than 1,000 travel businesses, from individual advisors to large organizations like Travel and Transport, a part investor and also the fifth-largest U.S. travel management company. Travefy has raised $1.67 million since its founding in 2012.

In other news, Stayzilla, India’s biggest homestay startup, is shutting down to “reboot” and “change business models.” Stayzilla had raised about $34 million across four rounds of funding, including a round in May. The company will focus now on building tools for the supply side of homestays. (See our story.)

In other grim news, the Wall Street Journal reports that Swedish investment group Kinnevik is halving its holding in Rocket Internet, an investment vehicle that has funded many startups that have turned out to be unprofitable. Some Rocket Internet businesses that are travel-specific (and say they’re doing well) are TravelBird, Tripda, Traveloka, Jovago, and Clickbus. It will take time for the impact of that Kinnevik’s move to ripple through the startup ecosystem.

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 $64.8 million.

>>AirMap, which provides airspace services for drones, is not strictly a travel startup. But airports are its top customers for its tools that let consumer drone operators know where it’s safe to fly and that professional drone operators, such as the authorized ones used to service aircraft or patrol security perimeters, know where they can fly in restricted areas.

Microsoft Ventures, Airbus Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, Rakuten, Sony, and Yuneec joined existing investors General Catalyst and Lux Capital in the $26 million Series B round, which brings total investment in AirMap to more than $43 million.

>>TravelCar, a company that offers peer-to-peer car sharing at airports, has raised 15 million euros ($15.8 million), with the PSA group and MAIF participating. That brings the Paris-based startup, formerly known as TravelerCar, to a total of $22.2 million raised.

In April, it will debut its services at airports in Los Angeles and San Francisco, bringing the European operation Stateside. It enters a space formerly popularized in the U.S. by FlightCar, which last summer shut down its service at 12 U.S. airports after being bought by Mercedes-Benz. TravelCar has more than 200 offices in 10 countries in Europe. CEO Ahmed Mhiri says the company has more than 300,000 users. Other competitors with overlapping services include Drivy, Turo, OuiCar, and Tripndrive.

>>Haoqiao, a business-to-business hotel booking platform founded in 2013, has received 120 million renminbi ($17 million) in a just-closed Series B round. The Beijing-based company, previously backed by IDG Capital, provides traditional and online travel agencies with structured information on international hotels through its booking portal and API service. The company’s tools make price comparison, booking and service easier for agents.

>>NIDA Rooms, which describes itself as Asia’s largest budget hotel virtual operator, has received a $5.6 million investment. Participants in the Series A round include Shanda Group. The company, founded in September 2015, has raised $11 million, to date.

Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, NIDA Rooms follows the “branded budget” hotel model that OYO Rooms and others are proving successful in India and elsewhere. It affiliates hotels under a standardized experience (working wifi, cleanliness) and markets them through a standard website. It has signed up hotels in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

>>UTrip, a travel-planning platform, has closed a $4 million Series A investment round. Backers include Plug and Play, Tiempo Capital, Acorn Ventures, SWAN Venture Fund and W&W Capital. The company says the investment “will further enhance mobile applications for end users, enrich the company’s machine learning capabilities, and achieve automation of white-label infrastructure.”

Founded in Seattle in 2012, Utrip’s applies predictive technology to a database of recommendations collected from destination experts and creates relevant itineraries for travelers. The company claims a 100 percent customer retention over the last three years among its 50 partners, such as Starwood Hotels and Holland America Line.

>>Paracompare aims to be a one-stop-shop for booking all forms of transport, such as taxi, buses, and parking — with an emphasis on busy destinations around European cities, such as airports, cruise terminals, and event spaces. Founded in 2014, the Amsterdam-based startup says it has received funding in return for a minority stake from the Mainport Innovation Fund (MIF), an innovation fund created by Schiphol Airport, KLM Airlines, TU Delft, NS, and the Port of Amsterdam. The funding will help it sign up partners in The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.

>>Outdoor Project, a Portland, Oregon-based startup that helps consumers discover outdoor adventures, announced that it has secured $2 million in a Series A funding round, which was led by Oregon Angel Fund, and includes Cascade Angels.

Tyson Gillard, co-founder and CEO at Outdoor Project, says his company is “building the world’s greatest outdoor adventure guidebook” with video, maps, and other content targeting the U.S. and key markets in Canada in 2017. The company will hire five more people to join its six-person team.

Check out all our previous startup funding roundups, here.


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Tags: funding, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: Award-winning, Nebraska-based Travefy powers more than 1,000 paid travel businesses across the U.S. Travefy

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