Skift Take

Can virtual reality content play a role in helping to persuade travelers to book luxury destinations in Southeast Asia? That's the bet made by Rizort, an online travel agency startup that received funding this week.

Series: Startups This Week

Travel Startup Funding This Week

Each week we round up travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. Please email Travel Tech Reporter Justin Dawes at [email protected] if you have funding news.

The total publicized this week was more than $5.5 million.

>>Rizort, a luxury vacation marketplace that focuses on helping travelers plan an entire vacation, has closed a seed round of funding of $2.9 million from a variety of angel investors.

Blume Ventures, Dream Incubators Japan, and a few other angel investors participated.

The company launched in March with a focus on destinations in Southeast Asia, such as Bali, and a target market of U.S., UK, and Western European customers. It has 20 full-time employees across the San Francisco Bay Area and Bangalore, India.

Sachin Kanodia, founder and CEO, said the company leverages virtual reality (VR) content for Oculus Rift or Oculus Go devices to showcase the destination resorts along with artificial intelligence to generate recommendations that are relevant to a traveler’s interests.

“Each entity the traveler explores using VR, like a room type, spa, and dining experience, gives us valuable information we can use to help in understanding a travel planner’s preferences and intent,” said Kanodia.

>>Stay One Degree, a membership-based vacation home rental marketplace, has raised $1.5 million. Several angel investors contributed, including Emma Sherrard Matthew, Ronald Arculli, Andrew Griffith, Alex Ham, and Ross Mitchinson.

The Hong Kong-based online rental agency debuted late last year. It rents about high-end 1,000 homes in more than 50 countries exclusively to people who qualify for membership in its social network.

>>Fyle, an expense management startup, has raised $1.1 million from investors. It has previously raised $400,000.

Participating in the funding round were strategic investor Freshworks and investment firms such as Pravega Ventures and Beenext.

The Bengaluru, India-based company launched in February 2016 and now offers expense management via desktop and mobile app tools, including for business travel reimbursement, to a variety of companies.

Skift Cheat Sheet:
Funding tends to come in waves. Seed capital is money used to start a business, often led by angel investors and friends or family.

Series A financing is typically drawn from venture capitalists. The round aims to help a startup’s founders make sure that their product is something that customers truly want to buy.

Series B financing is mainly about venture capitalist firms helping a company grow faster, or scale up. These fundraising rounds can help with recruiting skilled workers and developing cost-effective marketing.

Series C financing is ordinarily about helping a company expand, such as through acquisitions. In addition to VCs, hedge funds, investment banks, and private equity firms often participate.

Series D, E and beyond These mainly mature businesses and the funding round may help a company prepare to go public or be acquired. A variety of types of private investors might participate.

Check out our previous startup funding roundups, here.


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Tags: funding, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: The Ritz Carlton in Bali is one of the properties recommended by Rizort, an online travel agency that has received startup funding. Ritz-Carlton Bali

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