Skift Take

The past week has seen remarkable fundings of a cross-border payments company, Airwallex, a luggage maker, Away, and a social travel recommendation service, Fever. Of all of these, "fever" has the name that best captures the frothy valuations.

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 funding publicized this week was more than $150 million.

We reported last week that TourRadar, an online agency for multi-day activities, such as river cruises and safaris, had received $50 million in a Series C funding round.

Since then, investors have continued to plow money into travel startups. Here are the latest announcements.

>>Airwallex, a financial technology startup that helps small-and-medium-sized businesses make cross-border payments more efficiently, raised $80 million in Series B funding.

Tencent and Sequoia China co-led the round. Last December, Airwallex closed a $22 million round. It has raised more than $100 million, to date.

The Melbourne-based business doesn’t exclusively focus on travel. But many of its customers are travel agencies, tour operators, and online marketplaces providing travel, especially in Asia Pacific.

Founded in December 2015, by five Chinese-Australians, the cross-border payments platform uses machine learning to analyze each transaction that comes through to choose the optimal route for delivering payments from several options, depending on factors like speed and cost.

The company said it needed the large funding to be able to expand in Hong Kong and Singapore either by obtaining a banking license via an acquisition or by having enough cash reserve on hand to be able to apply for licenses on its own.

>>Away, a luggage maker that sells directly to consumers, both on the internet and in five bricks-and-mortar stores, raised $50 million in Series C funding late last week after our publication time.

Forerunner Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and Comcast Ventures participated in the funding, but no leaders were named.

The New York City-based company sells suitcases that sport a hard shell, a built-in USB charger, and 360-degree spinning wheels. Each bag typically costs $225.

It said it has sold more than a half-million pieces of luggage since its founding in February 2016. Learn more about the vision of co-founders Jen Rubio and Stephanie Korey from Skift’s interview with them late last year.

>>Fever, a London-based entertainment and experience company, raised $20 million in Series C funding.

Atresmedia and Labtech co-led the round.

The company’s mobile apps aim to help consumers find activities, events, and attractions — such as music festivals, theatre performances, fashion brand pop-ups, and restaurants — in their home city or cities they’re visiting.

Fever provides content for a handful of major Western European cities but aims to use the funding to expand. The company’s recommendations are socially driven. But they still compete against some better-funded players, such as The Culture Trip, an online travel magazine that this spring raised $80 million Series B funding.

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. The rare ones that do often attract venture capital. Their funding rounds 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.

Check out our previous startup funding roundups, here. And also: Skift’s Top Travel Startups to Watch 2018.


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Tags: funding, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: Lucy Liu is the chief commercial officer and co-founder of Airwallex, a Melbourne-based startup that facilitates international payments. The company announced an $80 million Series B funding round in the past week. Airwallex

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