Setoo is helping to pioneer a wave of customized protection products, such as letting travelers buy coverage to get money back if there's not enough snow during a ski trip. The new products could provide more upselling opportunities for travel suppliers and online agencies.
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 $17 million.
>>Setoo, which builds a platform that lets companies create insurance and protection products, has raised $9.3 million, or €8 million, in a seed round.
Kamet, a fund backed by insurance giant AXA Group, led the round, which brought Setoo’s total funding raised to $12.1 million, or €10.3 million.
Many insurers, such as Travelguard, provide ready-made, insurance-like products for online travel agencies and other companies to sell. But these tend to be generic and only for trip cancellation. Setoo lets the companies create the products that are more customized to sell on their own. For example, when a customer books a ski trip, an online agency could offer money-back protection if the weather is unsuitable for skiing.
The startup’s platform has already been implemented by a European-based online travel agency, which has begun selling policies to its customers.
Setoo, founded in the UK in 2017, said there will be additional customer launches across Europe by the end of 2018. It intends to expand outside of travel as a segment. Setoo employs 17 people, mostly in Tel Aviv. Up until now, the company has focused on online travel.
>>Domicile, a booking service for corporate housing, has raised $5 million
CrossCut Ventures led the round. Madrona Venture Group also participated.
The Seattle-based accommodation service’s $5 million round includes $3.6 million in new money and about $1.4 million in previously raised convertible notes that converted to equity in this round. It was founded in October 2016 and currently has about 20 full-time employees.
Domicile helps corporate customers with lodging placement for employees, from short-term to extended-stay in fully furnished apartments that meet its consistent standards and that come with its customer support. Domicile integrates with several widely-used corporate booking tools, such as those offered by Concur and Egencia.
Incubated within Madrona Venture Labs, Domicile was co-founded by Simon Tam, Ross Saario, and Eve Vashkus.
>>Cozystay, a vacation rental platform, has raised an undisclosed, multi-million-dollar Series A round.
Tujia, China’s largest vacation rental company, led the investment round, via Sweethome, its offline property management unit. It will be co-branding as Cozy Sweetome for properties in North America.
Cozystay has offices in both Vancouver, Canada, and Beijing, China. It serves a large number of Chinese-speaking hosts among its 200,000 listings worldwide.
The protocols may be used for functions like eliminating double-bookings by providing a single reliable record and reducing mistakes created when data is scattered across multiple systems.
>>Avvay, a company that helps source project and event spaces, raised $1 million in seed funding.
Zero G Capital led the round. Matchstick Ventures, SpringTime Ventures, and Service Provider Capital also participated.
The Nashville-based company, founded in 2016, helps people book unique spaces, such as for shooting a music video or holding a reception party.
>>Togedr, an activities booking platform, has raised an undisclosed angel funding.
UK-based investor Anil Patel was one of the participants.
Founded in December 2016, Togedr curates activities such as trekking, camping, scuba diving, and safaris. Unlike other adventure experiences booking platforms, the Gurugram-based startup Togedr emphasizes building an online community, and it was part of the Facebook-backed FBStart incubator in 2017.
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.
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Photo credit: Noam Shapira, co-founder and co-CEO of Setoo, shown here speaking at the Argus Factory event on insurance industry innovation in Paris in July 2018. Setoo announced a seed funding round this week. Argus Factory