PredictHQ, which helps travel companies like Booking.com and Qantas anticipate surges in demand, was joined by other startups in announcing investments this week, including Hotelmize, Journy, KKday, and Smartvel.
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@example.com if you have funding news.
This week the total funding publicized was more than $173 million. On Thursday, we reported that TripActions, a business travel startup, had raised a $154 million Series C round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
Aspect Ventures led the round. Lightspeed, Rampersand VC, and AddVenture also participated.
PredictHQ is not a travel-focused startup, but travel companies have been among its biggest clients to date for its event-monitoring service, which tracks scheduled and unscheduled real-world events like festivals, elections, and sports events and ranks them by their potential demand surges. Clients of the Auckland, New Zealand-based startup include AccorHotels, Amadeus, Booking.com, and Qantas.
The company was founded by executives who left Online Republic, a travel booking portal for Australia and New Zealand, after Webjet acquired it in 2016.
>>Hotelmize, a profit optimzation tool for hotel wholesalers, bed banks, and travel agents, has raised $3.8 million in seed financing. Investible led the round.
Hotelmize CEO Dor Krubiner believes that rates for hotel rooms adjust up and down in patterns that may be predictable. His company aims to leverage price fluctuations to the resellers’ advantage.
The company expects it will manage more than $1 billion in gross booking volume in the coming year. The 15-employee startup has offices in the UK and Tel Aviv. It serves more 20 clients.
>>Journy, a travel planning service, raised $3.15 million in seed funding.
Menlo Ventures led the round. Pear Ventures and Caviar founder Jason Wang also participated.
The New York City-based travel agency provides personalized itineraries for more than 50 cities, matching clients’ interests with tips from its network of tastemakers and agents.
>>KKday, a tours and activities ecommerce platform, said it had received an unspecified extension to its Series B funding round.
Line Ventures, the investment arm of Japan’s messaging service giant Line, and the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, co-led the extension.
The initial size of the Series B was $10.5 million when KKDay announced it in March. Taiwan-based KKday, founded in 2014, said it offers more than 10,000 tours and activities in more than 500 cities.
KKday CEO Ming Chen said he believed his company may already be Japan’s most-used online marketplace for tours-and-activities.
>>Smartvel, an enterprise travel tech company focused on destination content, has raised $1 million, bringing its total raised to date to $2 million.
Headline investors include Caixa Capital Risc, ALSA Group, Faraday Ventures, Fides Capital, and Pinama.
Destination content is tricky to manage and keep up-to-date for tourism boards, airlines, hotel companies, and other travel industry stakeholders. Smartvel said it has put together a digital solution that lists cultural events, sports, music, and trade fairs happening in cities along with classic attractions information on museums and restaurants.
Clients of the Madrid-based startup include Singapore Airlines, Iberia, Iberostar, and the City of Buenos Aires. An example of its white-labeled solution in action for Singapore Airlines’s website is here.
The four-year-old company previously won the “best startup in travel tech in Spain 2017” prize from Agora Next Telefonica Open Ventures, said CEO and founder Iñigo Valenzuela.
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: Campbell Brown, CEO and co-founder, PredictHQ, is in the top right far seat. From left to right is chief product officer Yen Lim, co-founder and CTO Robert Kern. The employee on the right is unidentifiable from the company's website. PredictHQ