AutoCamp has built an outdoor brand on offering bookings for glamping, or camping in amenity-filled recreational vehicles and luxury vans. Given a new $115 million investment, it will expand across the U.S. Read on for other funding news, too, from Intelity, Zingle, Recharge, and LuggageHero.
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.
This week travel startups announced more than $177 million in funding.
>>AutoCamp, a booking service for glamping — which involves camping in amenity-filled recreational vehicles, camper vans, and tents — announced a $115 million round of investment.
Whitman Peterson, a private equity firm, led the round.
AutoCamp, founded five years ago and based in San Francisco, will use the funding to expand beyond California locations, add to its 50-person workforce, and deepen its partnership with camper manufacturer Airstream, which provides custom-built units for the startup’s campsite suites.
In January AutoCamp announced new advisory board members Chip Conley, founder and former CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, and Mike Depatie, former president and CEO of Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants.
>>Intelity, an enterprise mobile and in-room guest services platform, has received a $44 million growth investment from private equity firm LLR, the companies announced this week. LLR now has majority control.
Last year, Intelity merged with Keypr, a platform connecting guest services, including mobile key and messaging, directly to a hotel’s back of house. Keypr, founded four years ago, had raised $19 million in venture capital funding. Intelity, founded a decade ago, had raised at least $7 million. The merged companies claimed a 250 percent year-over-year growth in revenue in 2018, though they didn’t disclose the amount.
Intelity has enterprise-level software contracts with brands like Conrad and Hard Rock Hotels, plus large properties like the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, to support their back-of-house operations and business intelligence needs, said CEO Robert Stevenson.
>>Zingle, a business-to-consumer messaging platform, has raised $11 million in a Series A round of funding.
PeakSpan led the round. Zingle, founded in 2009, has previously raised about $4 million in funding.
Hundreds of hotels use Zingle, including individual properties branded Hyatt, Broadmoor, and Great Wolf Lodges. Guests and hotel staff members exchange about 6 million messages a month on the service, the company said.
The Carlsbad, California company recently acquired predictive natural language processing models developed by Presto, a tiny company founded by two brothers at the University of Pennsylvania and University of California, Berkley, who now act as consultants for Zingle.
>>Recharge, a mobile-first online booking service for reserving upscale hotel rooms by the hour, has received an undisclosed strategic investment. The capital will let it began to expand its booking service to offer by-the-hour rentals of short-term spaces in private homes in San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles.
Fifth Wall Ventures led the round. The funding brings Recharge’s total raised to date to $10 million. In 2017 Recharge raised an undisclosed round of investment led by JetBlue Technology Ventures that Crunchbase estimates was about $2.3 million. The startup graduated from the famed Y Combinator incubator.
CEO Manny Bamfo launched the company in 2016.
>>LuggageHero, a network of rentable storage spaces for traveler’s bags, has raised $1.45 million in funding.
Nordic Eye led the investment in the Copenhagen-based company. Danish Growth Fund (Vaekstfonden) and Innovation Fund Denmark (Innovationsfonden) also participated.
LuggageHero, founded in 2016, offers bookings at 300 storage locations across New York City, London, and Copenhagen. The company will use the fresh capital to expand into 36 more cities in North America and Europe by January 2020.
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.
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Photo credit: Shown here are Airstream trailers rented via AutoCamp and set up in a park in the Russian River Valley in California. AutoCamp announced a fund-raising this week. Hannah Merritt Photography / AutoCamp