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Each week we round up travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. Please email Senior Travel Tech Editor Sean O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have funding news.
The total publicized this week was more than $41 million. Earlier this week we published our annual list: Skift’s Top Travel Startups to Watch 2018.
>>PerfectStay, a Paris-based travel distribution technology company, has raised $17.6 million (€15 million), which is the company’s total raised to date.
Felix Capital and Partech led the round.
Suppliers — including Air France, Vente Privée, Emirates, and Corsair — distribute their travel content, mainly flights and hotels, via PerfectStay’s platform, which distributes it to tour operators to sell to travelers.
Up until now, many tour operators have relied on white-label packaging, where the same products are provided to all operators. PerfectStay’s tech allows suppliers to provide specific inventory and rates to specific operators via the same tech platform.
The company said it processed $15.7 million (€13.4 million) in gross sales in 2017 and that it processed about $30 million this year through May. Its revenue was some small slice of that.
PerfectStays has focused on markets in the UK and Germany until now. It has 80 full-time employees but plans to double that within a year. The founders of the startup were previously top executives at Publicis, Lastminute, Karavel-Promovacances, and Ecotour.
>>WhereTo, a business travel booking tool, raised $8 million of Series A funding.
Emergence Capital led the round. 500 Startups and Stage Venture Partners also participated.
The San Francisco-based startup, which has 20 full-time workers, has had two prior equity rounds, bringing its total raised to $16.5 million.
The company uses artificial intelligence to streamline business travel management for corporations and employees.
Artificial intelligence is used by WhereTo to streamline business travel planning for corporations and their employees. The company’s internet-based interface takes into account company policy and preferences when employees search across dozens of channels. The tool generates detailed itineraries relevant to meeting locations and factoring in on-the-ground transit conditions, the company said.
WhereTo is one of many business travel startups aiming to replace corporate booking tools with systems that are more likely to be used by employees and that will more likely encourage corporate road warriors to stay within budget and company policy.
The company is a pivot from what was originally a direct-to-consumer offering, noted CEO Ryan Wenger.
>>Mews, which makes next-generation property management software for hotels, hostels, and apartments, has announced a $7.1 million (€6 million) Series A funding round.
Notion Capital led the round. HenQ and Thayer Ventures also participated.
It was founded in 2012 by ex-hoteliers who were frustrated by the legacy platforms. They created an alternative system that currently supports 350 properties in more than 35 countries.
CEO of Mews Matthijs Welle said: “In the last year, alone we have expanded from 10 to 35 countries, grown revenue by 20 percent a month and expanded the team from 25 employees to 80 employees.”
Mews was included in Skift’s Top Travel Startups to Watch in 2018.
>>Exoticca, an online travel agency specializing in luxury vacation packages, has raised $4.1 million (€3.5 million) in a Series A round of financing.
VC K Fund led the round. Past investors Sabadell Venture Capital and Grupo Palau also joined, along with new investors Nero Ventures, Palladium Corporate Venture, and Smartech Capital.
The Barcelona-based company was founded in 2013 and currently operates in three European markets: Spain, France, and the UK. It said it sold about $12 million in travel last year. The company will expand into Germany this summer.
CEO Pere Valles said luxury travel is typically still bought from traditional bricks-and-mortar agencies, owing to the relative complexity of the itineraries and purchase, he said. Exoticca is one of the first companies to display pricing for luxury packages online in real-time.
It faces competition from other players, such as the Google Ventures (GV)-backed members-only travel club Secret Escapes. But the addressable market is large.
>>WhyHotel, which runs pop-up hotels in fully furnished luxury apartment buildings, has raised $3.94 million in seed funding.
Camber Creek led the round, and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund also participated along with other investors. The startup was incubated at Vornado Realty Trust.
The Washington, D.C.-based company will use the funds to expand to Baltimore, where it will open a 150-unit, pop-up hotel near the city’s Inner Harbor at 225 North Calvert Street.
“WhyHotel allows multifamily developers to de-risk the lease-up phase of brand new luxury apartments,” said Casey Berman, Founder and Managing Director of Camber Creek, in a statement.
>>Cookly, a marketplace for finding cooking classes and other culinary experiences, has raised an undisclosed pre-Series A funding.
500 TukTuks, which champions the startup system in Thailand, is providing a small amount of equity-based venture capital, and a private investor is offering equity-based private investment.
Cookly is based in Bangkok and has 30 full-time employees. Other early investors include dtac Accelerate, the venture arm of telecom Telenor Group.
Benjamin Ozsanay, CEO and Co-Founder of Cookly, says the company plans to use cryptocurrency-based technology in the future to facilitate borderless payment transactions. Founded in 2015, the company lists activities for travelers to book in 23 countries.
Have an aviation-themed startup? Take it to the next level by participating in the Air Pitch Startup Competition 2018.
Skift Cheat Sheet:
We define a startup as a company formed to test and build a repeatable and scalable business model. Few companies meet that definition and the rare ones that do often attract venture capital — where money is provided today to fund growth in exchange for a promise of large returns in the future.
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 assist 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.