This week investors bet more than $104 million on companies that help people plan trips (Tourlane, SnapTravel, Fineway, and AsiaYo), recruit hotel workers (Hosco), create adventure travel content (Roam), and book medical tourism (Hospals).
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.
This week travel startups announced more than $104.6 million in venture capital funding.
Earlier this week, Selina, an operator of mixed-use spaces for travelers, said it had received $150 million in real estate funding from DD3 Capital Partners. Selina, which calls itself a hospitality group and community for millennial travelers, had raised a $95 million Series B investment round earlier this year.
Industry observers estimated the undisclosed sum as likely being at least $28 million (€25 million). The company declined to say if the latest investment was an extension of its Series C round.
HomeToGo, based in Berlin, said that its total raised to date is $150 million.
The startup, founded in 2014, didn’t reveal who led the round. But the company’s investors include most prominently Insight Venture Partners. Also participating are Acton Capital Partners, DN Capital, and Global Founders Capital (an arm of Rocket Internet). This group has recently expanded with investments from Lakestar and Princeville Global, the company said.
>>Tourlane, a multiday tour booking company, said it had raised a $24 million (€21.1 million) in a Series B investment round.
Sequoia, the top-tier venture firm, led the round as a new investor. Past investors Spark Capital, Holtzbrinck Ventures, and DN Capital also participated.
In March 2018, Tourlane raised $8.5 million in Series A financing. The startup’s total capital raised to date is now about $34 million (€30 million).
Tourlane helps travelers research and buy multi-day tours online. Up until now, many travelers have had to turn to offline agencies and haven’t been able to see real-time pricing online. Tourlane offers real-time pricing online. Its tools also aim to help travelers visualize trips and make drag-and-drop adjustments to itineraries.
Companies competing with offerings that overlap with Tourlane’s include Evaneos, a booking platform for customized multi-day tours, which raised an $80 million round of investment in September, and TourRadar, an online agency for multi-day activities, such as river cruises and safaris, which received $50 million in a Series C funding round in June.
Tourlane, founded in 2016 and based in Berlin, said that it has seen its revenue increase by 800 percent, year-over-year. It has 120 employees and plans to hire about 100 more in the coming year.
Tourlane co-founder Julian Stiefel said in a statement, “On the one hand, travelers don’t want to offer up their individual experiences on the altar of mass tourism. But on the other hand, they are also overwhelmed by the myriad of offers available online.” He said his company aims to help solve the twin problems.
Steph Curry, a professional basketball star for the Golden State Warriors, was one of the investors. So was Telstra Ventures, the investment arm of Australian telecom giant Telstra.
SnapTravel, based in Toronto and founded in 2016, has more than 80 employees and has raised a total of $22.4 million to date.
Co-founder and CEO Hussein Fazal said his company aims to reimagine hotel booking as something done “entirely via conversations with brands” on messaging platforms. Travelers can access SnapTravel to book hotels over SMS, iMessage, RCS, Viber, Slack, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Alexa.
>>Fineway, a conversational-based trip-planning service, has raised a Series A round of $14.7 million (€13 million).
The Munich-based startup, founded in 2015, has investors that include Axel Springer, Bayern Kapital, and MairDumont Ventures. It employs 65 workers.
The company previously raised a $2.5 million seed round. In total it has raised more than $18 million (€16 million) in equity. It pivoted from an earlier conception as a travel club.
>>AsiaYo, a hotel and vacation rental booking site, has raised about $7 million in a Series B round.
Investors included Alibaba Taiwan Entrepreneurs Fund, China Development and Innovation Acceleration, Da Ying Management Consulting, and Delta Capital.
Founded in 2013, the Taiwan-based company has about 100 workers, who have helped travelers book about 600,000 room nights to date.
>>Hosco, a hospitality recruitment startup, has raised $6.1 million (€5.4 million).
Nauta Capital led the round.
The startup has raised a little more than $12 million to date.
Hosco is a global professional network for hospitality professionals, employers and universities only.
Based in Barcelona and with offices in Geneva and Dubai, Hosco launched in 2011. It claims to be a job network and recruitment tool for more than 350,000 professionals, more than 250 schools and universities, and more than 4,500 employers.
Olivier Bracard, Hosco’s co-founder and CEO, claimed that most five-star hotels in major European cities like London and Paris are already using Hosco for their hiring needs.
The company has 70 full-time employees, with a plan to grow to 180 in the next two years.
>>Roam, an adventure network and media company, has secured $2.1 million in seed funding.
Advancit Capital, SUSA, WndrCo, TackVC, and Imagination Capital participated in the round.
The Boulder, Colorado-based company said it has more than 1.6 million followers who have watched more than 120,000 hours of adventure mobile-first video that’s a mix of curated and user-generated content. Video sponsors have included Coors Light, DJI, Land Rover, National Geographic, and Discovery Channel.
>>Hospals, a medical tourism startup, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding, it said.
Spiral Ventures and Venture Catalysts led the investment in the company, which helps medical tourists visiting India to choose hospitals, research surgeries, and purchase medicines as well as plan their travel. So far many of its 6,000 customers to date have come from the Commonwealth of Independent States. Startup incubator Technology9labs helped to foster the company.
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: Tourlane co-founders Julian Stiefel (left) and Julian Weselek (right) have led their Berlin-based booking platform and online travel specialist to raise $24 million in a Series B round of funding. Tourlane