Divvy launched in April, and it may already be valued at $150 million. One possible lesson for other startups is that customers may be eager for simple, one-stop interfaces because they're facing "dashboard fatigue" from having to check too many other online systems.
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 protected] if you have funding news.
The total funding publicized this week was about $42 million.
>>Divvy, an expense management software company, has raised $35 million in a Series B funding round.
Insight Venture Partners led the round. It was only in May that the startup, located in Lehi, Utah, had raised a $10 million Series A. It has raised more than $55 million to date.
Many companies, such as Expensify, aim to automate the travel and expense reporting process to increase transparency, cost-effectiveness, convenience, and security. Divvy differs in that it doesn’t try and play catch up with receipts and expense reports. It sets everything up so that once an employee swipes their physical card or spends on a virtual card everything is approved and automated.
All Divvy clients give corporate cards to employees. They can set limits on those cards, but users can request additional funds to the card in real time. Think Venmo with a corporate card attached to it. Virtual cards can be used for an entire company for things like airfare and software subscriptions, and so forth to create increased visibility and security.
Since it fully opened to users in April, the startup claims to be averaging 60 percent growth in revenue every month and that almost no customers who have signed up have quit.
Employees who use Divvy can access an internet portal where Divvy offers hotel and other travel at discounted, wholesale rates.
The company, which has more than 65 employees, is on a hiring spree.
>>SpotAngels, a community-based parking mobile app, has raised $2.3 million in a seed round.
Investors include Lars Rasmussen, co-founder of Google Maps; Luc Vincent, former head of Google Street View and vice president of Engineering at Lyft; Y Combinator; Streamlined Ventures; and others. The investment model was a simple agreement for future equity.
SpotAngels relies on video cameras and its computer vision technology to count parked cars and map them. It overlays data shared from users on its technology in a way that is similar to how Waze overlays user-generated data on its navigation platform. It has maps in 20 U.S. cities, but has thorough coverage in only a few of the largest ones.
The San Francisco company, which has a dozen employees, has raised $2.8 million to date. The startup plans to launch a feature that will predict the availability of parking in streets in selected U.S. markets.
>>PopulStay, a maker of keyless locks for vacation rentals and uses blockchain technology for managing them, has raised $2.25 million in seed funding.
Bitmain, Handsome Capital, Sharp Eye Capital, and Jove Capital participated in the round.
Singapore-based PopulStay acts like Airbnb, matching hosts and guests. But it differs in that it believes it can use blockchain technology to minimize middleman fees. The startup also offers video chat as an alternative to text chat between hosts and guests.
It works with travel agencies like Ostay, Febow, Tourcandy, and Easygo, and has about 2,000 listings in Japan and about 300 in Singapore. It is branching into other segments, such as restaurants.
>>KKday, a marketplace for more than 10,000 tours and activities in more than 80 countries, has raised an undisclosed amount top-up funding from Alibaba’s Entrepreneur Fund.
The funding in the Taiwanese startup comes after its February’s $10.5 million Series B fundraising. The investment is more significant as a strategic move than as a financial one. The Chinese market relies on introductions, and Alibaba will be able to help it with introductions to grow in China. Already KKday has opened an online store on Alibaba-run online travel marketplace Fliggy.
>>Trell, a mobile app for sharing travel videos, has raised a seed round of $1.25 million.
Beenext and WEH Ventures co-led the round. The Bengaluru-based startup previously raised $250,000 in funding in March 2017.
The company says its apps have been downloaded more than 500,000 times since its launch in September 2017. “Currently, users are creating over 10,000 original posts every day,” the company said, with a claimed monthly average usage of 58 percent.
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.
Photo credit: Some fans of Divvy pose for a photo. The expense management software startup, based in Utah, announced that it had raised a $35 million Series B. Divvy