International Airlines Group (owner of British Airways and Iberia) has invested in a couple of travel startups, while Paris-based RoomChecking makes a striking debut as a next-gen hotel operations startup — plus more news.
The total raised this week was more than $8 million.
>>International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, has created an accelerator called Hangar 51 in partnership with L Marks, an early-stage investor. The 10-week program helps companies trial their products at scale and work closely with IAG’s senior management team and experts.
This week Hangar 51 said that two startups, Esplorio and Vchain, will receive an undisclosed investment from IAG’s multimillion-pound fund. The two companies will continue working with IAG to further develop their products and benefit customers. They were among five companies that participated in Hangar 51.
Esplorio is an iOS app that automatically journals all aspects of your travels. Its newest features include enhanced GPS tracking with minimal battery consumption and a way to browse all of the places a traveler has visited.
Vchain‘s technology helps with the processing of passengers. Around one out of every two passengers make mistakes when sharing their personal details with airlines before their flights. Vchain detects many of these mistakes in advance, sparing the airline from having to make manual corrections. The tech is being expanded into a full commercial product for IAG.
Vchain uses blockchain, a distributed ledger that is a more dynamic way of handling information and that is best known for supporting the electronic currency Bitcoin. Other travel companies are interested in blockhain technology, too.
>>Dib, an opaque hotel booking service, has said that it has raised $3.27 million (€3 million) from the venture firm Oscarson Invest.
Founded in 2015, the Scandinavian company’s service has similarities to the name-your-own-price product that originally made Priceline.com famous. Customers tell Dib what they would be willing to pay for a hotel room, and the company lets hotels choose to accept the rate if they like.
The fresh thing that Dib brings to the opaque formula is artificial intelligence. It uses mathematic modeling to predict how likely it is that any given hotel will accept a bid, which, in theory, will help it expand the supply, demand, and profit margin of this market.
>>Earlier this week we noted an undisclosed funding round of a rent-by-the-minute hotel room service called Recharge. The mobile-first startup has received strategic investment from JetBlue Technology Ventures, a travel technology incubator, but is not a graduate of the program.
Recharge launched in 2015 in San Francisco. This week it expanded to New York City with 16 luxury properties, such as Arlo Hudson Square.
There are many startups that let travelers book hotel rooms for briefer time increments than 24 hours. HotelsByDay is one, and it recently appeared on the popular entrepreneurial show ‘Shark Tank’ last month. Meanwhile, DayUse is Europe’s best-funded of the hotel-stay-by-the-hour businesses.
>>RoomChecking, a housekeeping and maintenance application for mobile devices, has recently raised $763,000 (€700,000) in seed funding. The 11-person hotel tech company will use the funding to add more employees.
Housekeepers, front desk staff, and managers can use the RoomChecking tool to see only the relevant information for their jobs. RoomChecking says it has more than 100 hotel clients in more than 10 countries, including Hotel du Collectionneur in France, Ollie in New York, and a Crowne Plaza in Berlin.
Switch.cm’s Indonesian-based development office will go to FlyMya. But the CEO is leaving to take a gig at Booking.com’s BookingSuite in Amsterdam. Meanwhile FlyMya’s parent, BOD Tech, is looking for other travel startup investments.
You can check out all our previous startup funding roundups, here.
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Photo credit: The Esplorio team has joined the IAG-backed accelerator, Hangar 51. The team includes Tim Fernando (CEO), Essa Saulat (CMO), and Sean Pham (CTO). Hangar 51