Travel startups raised more than $128 million this week. Tel Aviv-based Guesty, which is like a Salesforce for vacation rental property managers, was one of the fortunate companies.
Travel Startup Funding This Week
Each week we round up travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. Please email Senior Travel Tech Editor Sean O’Neill at email@example.com if you have funding news.
The total publicized this week was more than $128 million.
On Tuesday, we reported that Culture Trip, an online travel magazine, had raised an $80 million Series B round from investors.
The round was one of the biggest-ever financings for a travel media start-up, especially in Europe. Czech private investment fund PPF led the round. All that said, we’re skeptical of the business model, as it has been described.
In other news, Dosh, a cash-back app for consumers, has raised $44 million in a Series A. PayPal and Goodwater Capital participated. Skift wrote last summer about how the Austin, Texas-based company had a service that lets a person book work-related travel on their corporate card but get cash back on their personal card.
The company has since diluted its focus to cover all types of retail purchases. It claims more than 100,000 merchants are on its U.S.-centric platform. Given its lack of travel focus, we’re not spotlighting it in this roundup.
>>Guesty, which simplifies the operations of property management companies and facilitates recieving customers from Airbnb, Booking.com, VRBO, and other sources, has raised $19.75 million in Series B funding.
TLV Partners led the round. The Tel Aviv-based startup, which is a graduate of the Y Combinator accelerator, has raised $23 million to date.
The company, which provides an end-to-end property management platform, has had traction with owners of urban short-term rental units. The premise of this funding is that it replicate that success within the segment of whole-home vacation rentals in resort destinations, too.
The company has 150 full-time employees. CEO Amiad Soto co-founded it in late 2013 with his twin brother Koby Soto, who is now on the board.
>>Rocketrip, a New York-based corporate travel startup, has raised a $15 million Series C round.
GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, led the round, but this is not a strategic investment for Google. Bessemer Venture Partners and Canaan Partners — both past investors — also pitched in. To date, Rocketrip has raised $32 million in venture capital.
The startup, which has 75 employees, was founded in 2013 and is a graduate of the Y Combinator accelerator.
Rocketrip pioneered in an online format the concept of using incentives to coax employees to stay within their company’s travel budgets. Pandora, Twitter, and Feld Entertainment are notable customers.
CEO Dan Ruch said the company’s platform predicts the cost of a business trip and rewards employees with a portion of the savings when they book below that target. He said the business is working with travel management company partners to develop new solutions for corporate managed travel programs.
>>RootsRated, an outdoor experience finder firm, has raised $6.5 million in funding.
TechOperators led the round. Chattanooga Renaissance Fund and The Lighthouse Fund also invested in the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company.
RootsRaised has raised $9.5 million since its inception in 2012. It currently has 22 employees. TechOperators’s general partner Dave Gould has joined the startup’s board.
The individual owners of 360 Blue, a vacation rental company — namely, Jason Sprenkle, Jeremy Sprenkle, and Ashley Horsley — led the strategic investment. They previously supplied a $200,000 seed financing. Other angel investors participated in the Series A, too.
The Santa Rosa Beach, a Florida-based company, was formerly called VRM Dashboard. It aims to bring to vacation rental managers a sense of what the average performance of a market is to help owners price their product and make decisions on inventory, similar to how Smith Travel Research (STR) has done effectively for hoteliers in many markets worldwide.
Key Data Dashboard was co-founded in 2016 by Amy Hinote, who has left and sold her shares to focus full-time on her VRM Intel media business, which provides industry news to the sector.
The startup has six full-time employees and three part-time workers.
>>Impala, a maker of data tools for hotel technology vendors, has secured $1.75 million in seed funding.
Impala’s tools aim to allow hotel tech vendors access vital data from hotel property management systems that are the heart of their operations via an API (application programming interface, or a method used for retrieving data).
Investors include Kima Ventures, Pioneers Ventures, Eric Nadalin, Tony Jamous, Greg Marsh, Demetrios Zoppos, and Howzat Partners. The financing brings their full seed raise to more than $2 million.
Impala connects third-party travel tech businesses to hospitality property management systems. While there are more than 250 such hotel property management systems, until now those systems have made it difficult to do such integrations. Impala claims to have found a workaround based on a universal API concept at the Techstars accelerator in Berlin in 2017, and have now signed 65 businesses onto their waiting list as of their launch.
CEO Ben Stephenson and COO Charles Cowley founded Impala in 2017. They face an uphill battle. The largest property management system, Oracle Hospitality’s Opera, has thousands of APIs, but the integration with third-party tools is difficult because of fees the company charges vendors. Impala may need to undercut Oracle and others on pricing to win share.
>>PKFare, a global distribution system for travel, has received a $1.6 million Series A round funding, according to its parent company, Beijing-based China—Marco Polo Technology.
Civil Aviation Investment Fund, Caissa Tourism Group, the Chuang Fund authorized by the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, and ZuoYu also participated.
The startup, which was founded in 2014, did not disclose the amount of its prior angel funding. Past investors include Shenzhen Capital and Creation Venture.
PKFare, with 209 employees, is challenging both wholesaler technology companies, such as Spain-based Hotelbeds, and global distribution systems, like China’s TravelSky and Spain-based Amadeus, in helping travel agencies receive content and handle cross-border payments.
The company claims to aggregate real-time data, products, and services from suppliers in more than 100 countries and regions, featuring Finnair and more than 600 other airlines and 400,000 hotels.
>>Babierge, which provides baby gear to traveling families in more than 170 markets in the U.S. and Canada, has raised a $1.3 million seed round of funding.
Startup Capital Ventures, Quake Capital, Rostrum Capital, the GWC Innovator Fund, and Stanford-StartX Fund all invested.
The company, which has seven full-time employees, said it had served more than 8,000 families since its founding in May 2016.
It serves as a platform encouraging locals to make money by delivering and setting-up baby gear to a hotel or vacation rental. The company has 225 providers and has offices in San Francisco and New York.
Babierge said it had also acquired a baby gear rental directory, Rent Baby Equipment.
Check out our previous startup funding roundups, here.
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Photo credit: Amiad Soto is co-founder and remains CEO of Guesty, a Tel Aviv-based startup that has raised $23 million to date. The premise of the latest round is that the company, which provides an end-to-end property management platform, can replicate its traction in the urban short-term rental sector within the whole-home, resort destination vacation rental segment, too. Guesty