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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 email@example.com if you have funding news.
The total funding publicized this week was more than $23 million.
>>Beekeeper, a communications and operations technology company that has been primarily focused on serving hotels, has raised an additional $13 million as a part of its Series A extension round.
Atomico and Keen Venture Partners led the round. Samsung Next, Edenred Capital Partners, and Swiss Post also participated. In March, the company announced $8 million in Series A funding. It has raised about $26 million in funding, to date.
Beekeeper offers centralized tools to connect non-desk workers across locations and departments. Marriott and Heathrow Airport are among its clients. The startup, which has main offices in Zurich and San Francisco, has more than 130 employees globally.
Aligning employees without email addresses or corporate devices with the entire organization in a centralized, secure environment is a major challenge, Beekeeper said. A lack of proper operational communication tools has forced employees to use consumer-based workarounds like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger or use old-fashioned tools like Post-It notes and walkie-talkies.
In the past year, Beekeeper has quintupled its user base, it said, without revealing specifics. The company was founded in 2012.
Korea Investment Partners, Samsung, and CITIC Capital participated in the financing. Ganesh Ventures, a fund backed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, also joined.
The Gurugram-based agency, launched last year, has taken the unusual step of offering cashback promotions for people to download and use its mobile booking app.
HappyEasyGo has been processing more than 1.8 million tickets a month, on average, reported news site Entrackr. If true, that would place it fourth behind MakeMyTrip, Yatra, and Cleartrip in Indian ticketing volume.
>>HelloGbye, a trip-management startup made by Amgine Technologies, has raised $7 million in fresh equity funding.
The most recent round was funded by private investors and family offices. The company has not gone the venture capital route yet.
The Austin-based startup, since its inception in 2012, has raised a total of $26 million across four rounds of financing. The company first launched its artificial intelligence-based technology on the App Store in March 2017.
The company originally had a direct-to-traveler pitch, with the idea of offering a chat-based interface to help small businesses, frequent fliers, and small groups with the booking of any combination of flight and hotel itineraries.
It later pivoted to business-to-business.
Since the spring, HelloGbye has participated in a startup incubator program run by Virtuoso, a consortium of more than 1,000 luxury travel agencies. Some agents have volunteered to test the product, which intercepts a client’s email or other and inbound trip-planning request and generates a pre-made itinerary that can be fine-tuned by the agent.
“We are a fully digital AI travel platform with the goal of improving agent productivity in the travel industry,” said Greg Apple, chief marketing officer. “Our ambition is to use our AI to assist and empower agents to generate itinerary recommendations much faster than they currently do today. Greater agent efficiency can drive more bookings and revenues for travel agencies.”
The company has 20 employees. Its core technology team is in Texas and its back-end and front-end development teams are in Canada as are some other team members.
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.