First Free Story (1 of 3)

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Each week we round up travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. The total raised this week was more than $9.45 million.

>>HotelPlanner, a reservations platform for group hotel bookings founded in West Palm Beach, Florida, has acquired, a content site offering hotel deals and news that is based in United Arab Emirates. TravelTicker’s traffic is being redirected to the acquirer’s main site. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. chief executive Tim Hentschel says more acquisitions are to come. It recently acquired Hotel Hotline,, and About one out of every 20 group bookings in the U.S. goes through HotelPlanner’s system, the company says.

>>Zen Rooms has received $4.1 million investment, in a further ratification of the branded budget hotel trend in India and Southeast Asia that has been led by companies like OYO Rooms, which has raised $180 million.

The Series A round is led by Red Badge Pacific and SBI Group. The company was founded in 2015.

>>Japanese online retailer Rakuten has invested $2.8 million in a Series A investment round in MetroResidences, a serviced apartments company for corporate travelers.

MetroResidences was founded in 2014 in Singapore, its main market so far. It will use this funding to expand into major Asian cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong. It has raised $3.5 million to date.

Rakuten keeps investing in small travel companies. Its venture arm recently led a $5 million round in the San Francisco-based tours-and-activity software provider Xola and a tours-and-activities marketplace, Voyagin.

>>HeadBox, the peer-to-peer online marketplace for event spaces, has raised $1.75 million (£1.4 million) in its latest funding round, with angel network Wild Blue Cohort participating. That brings the London-based company’s total funding to $3.54 million, to date.

The 15-employee company launched in October 2015 as a matchmaker for event organizers, managers, personal assistants, agencies, and venues like hotels. It has expanded from London to include other British cities, such as Liverpool and Manchester. Investors include a former CEO of Dyson, a former CEO of IPG Media Brands, and a former CEO of InterContinental Hotels.

>>In a personal capacity, the director of tours company Cox & Kings, Urrshila Kerkar, has taken a majority in stake in Gurgaon-based travel start-up We Are Holidays. The investment is not disclosed but is estimated to be more than $800,000.

We Are Holidays, the online travel information and booking portal, was founded in Gurgaon in early 2011 and has previously received raised more than $2.5 million.

Check out our previous startup funding roundups, here.

Photo Credit: HotelPlanner is single-handedly trying to rectify the online travel industry's gender imbalance. HotelPlanner