Skift Take

The market for long-term serviced apartments is being dragged, thankfully, into the digital era by companies like Homelike. Plus: Funding news for Roomex, FunNow, Vntrip, and Roto Travel.

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 $197 million.

We reported on Thursday that Evolve Vacation Rental Network, a vacation rental property management tech firm, had raised $80 million in capital. Funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates led the round.

We also reported Thursday that Sonder, a boutique rental startup, has closed an $85 million Series C round of funding. Greenoaks Capital led the round.

>>Homelike, a marketplace for furnished temporary apartments for business travel, has raised a $14 million funding round.

Spark Capital led the round. Cherry Ventures, Lürssen, and Coparion also participated.

The Cologne, Germany-based Homelike, which debuted in 2015, helps corporate clients and employees book stays of 30 nights or more in apartments that have been vetted to ensure that they have standard amenities and central locations.

Homelike, which has about 85 workers, lists more than 45,000 high-quality apartments in 100 cities in Europe. It has accommodated business travelers for more than 700,000 nights, said Dustin Figge, CEO and Co-Founder. It serves more than 15,000 corporate clients, such as Capgemini and Thoughtworks.

>>Roomex, a hotel booking platform for corporations and other businesses, has raised a $9.27 million (€8 million) Series A funding.

Draper Esprit led the round. Frontline Ventures and Harmony Capital also participated.

The Dublin-based company stands out from similar services for business and corporate travel by centralizing bookings and invoicing in one account. Workers use its tool and book travel that Roomex then notes to the company’s travel manager.

The company only serves Ireland and the U.K. today but will use the financing to expand elsewhere, said CEO Jack Donaghy.

The company, founded in 2006, was ranked 20th in the 2017 Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Ireland list. It intends to double its employee headcount in the next year and a half to 100.

>>FunNow, a spontaneous activities, hotel, and restaurant booking service, has raised $5 million in a Series A round.

Alibaba Entrepreneur Fund led the round. Darwin Venture and Accuvest also participated.

The Taiwan-based company, which was founded in 2015 and has raised $6.5 million to date, intends to expand across Asia, said CEO and Co-Founder Chen Ting-kuan.
It expects to generate revenue of $16 million this year.

>>Roto Travel, which is a photographer-for-hire service for travelers, has received an undisclosed investment of more than $3 million in a Pre-Series A round.

Plum New Cognitive Fund and Innoangel Fund led the investment. Cambrian Venture Capital and Yizan Capital also participated.

The company, founded in 2016, now connects travelers with photographers in 13 destinations, such as Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and France.

Haijun Hang, Founder and CEO, claims Roto Travel has served 200,000 users and that it is on track to generate about $5 million in revenue next year.

>> Vntrip, an online travel agency in Vietnam, announced today it has raised an undisclosed strategic investment from IHAG Holding that placed a $45 million valuation on the company.

Lam Le Dac, Co-founder and CEO of Vntrip, said the investment “positions the company well for its next round of financing.”

The Hanoi-based hotel booking site has previously raised more than $13 million, including a Series B last autumn. It debuted in 2016 after it raised a $3 million Series A round led by former Alibaba chief technology officer John Wu.

Vntrip’s competitors include Abay, Atadi, Tugo, VietnamUniquetour — plus local tour operators and offline agencies and foreign brands.

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: business travel, funding, serviced apartments, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: A sample apartment to rent via Homelike, a Germany-based marketplace for long-term business apartments, that has announced that it has raised a $14 million funding round led by Spark Capital. Homelike

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