This week travel startups Guesty, The Plum Guide, Zeus, Zuzu, Welcome Pickups, Vntrip, and Hostfully revealed more than $76 million in funding collectively.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you have funding news.
This week travel startups announced more than $76 million in funding.
>>Guesty, which simplifies the operations of property management companies and facilitates online marketing for short-term rentals, has raised $35 million in Series C funding.
Viola Growth led the investment. Vertex Ventures, Journey Ventures, TLV, and others also participated. The Los Angeles-based startup has raised $60 million to date.
Since graduating from the Y Combinator incubator in 2014, Guesty has helped owners manage listings across Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway, and other channels as well as guest communication, payment processing, and other services. In late 2013, CEO Amiad Soto co-founded the company with his twin brother Koby Soto, who is now on the board.
>>The Plum Guide, a vacation rental booking site, has raised $18.4 million (£14 million) in Series B funding.
Talis Capital led the round. Latitude, Hearst Ventures, and Octopus Ventures also participated.
Founder and CEO Doron Meyassed describes his London-based company as a kind of Michelin guide to upscale vacation rentals. The company lists properties in major cities based on their amenities and other desirable factors, such as a property’s closeness to cafes and transport.
By the end of 2019, The Plum Guide hopes to offer nearly 12,000 homes vetted through a mix of on-site visits and computer evaluations with the help of about 100 new hires. The company is just a listing service and doesn’t manage or own the properties in the way that some companies, like BoutiqueHomes, do.
>>Zeus, which offers corporate housing, has raised $11.5 million in a Series A round.
Initialized Capital led the round. The startup has previously raised $2.5 million in seed funding and $10 million in debt.
Zeus offers serviced apartments similar to companies like Sonder, though it partners with homeowners, taking on the furnishing, upkeep, and risk of filling the home without actually possessing the property. Zeus also provides some concierge and networking services for tenants.
Zeus CEO Kulveer Taggar previously co-founded auction tool Auctomatic, which Live Current Media bought for $5 million.
>>Zuzu Hospitality Solutions, which sells its yield management software to independent hoteliers, has raised $3.7 million in Series A investment.
Wavemaker Partners led the round in the Singapore-based company, which previously raised $2 million.
Rather than merely sell software, Zuzu also provides yield management experts to use the software and set rates on behalf of hotels. The company operates in Indonesia and Taiwan and plans to expand to Thailand, Malaysia, and Australia.
>>Welcome Pickups, an in-destination travel services provider, has raised $3.7 million (€3.3 million) in Series A funding.
VentureFriends, Market One Capital, Howzat, Jabbar, and Openfund participated.
The startup, launched in Athens, Greece in 2015, helps travelers by providing transfer services, tickets to top attractions, and recommendations for tours and activities. In short, Welcome handles all of the bookings for services and activities that take place during a trip, said co-founder and CEO Alex Trimis.
>>Vntrip, an online travel agency based in Vietnam, has raised an undisclosed round amount of “top-up funding.”
Hendale Capital led the investment, which comes ahead of the startup planning to raise a Series C and make an unknown acquisition. Hendale’s investment gave an exit to some early investors who had invested $700,000 according to DealStreetAsia. In 2017, Hendale invested $10 million in the startup. Earlier last year, Vntrip bought Atadi, an online ticketing site.
>>Guiddoo, a travel tech firm in Mumbai, has raised an undisclosed round of funding.
SOSV and Artesian led the round. The startup has previously raised $1.1 million in seed and “pre-Series A” funding.
Guiddoo, founded in 2014, calls itself an in-destination platform. It lists tours and activities, dining, shopping, and entertainment choices in 15 popular tourist spots. It is primarily a business-to-business company in that it provides its services to more than 4,000 travel agencies.
>>Hostfully, which offers a property management software for vacation rental owners, has raised $1 million in seed financing.
Precursor Ventures led the round, joined by others including MergeLane Ventures, Blue Startups, and Wharton alumni.
Hostfully stands apart from some other property management services by accentuating the guidebooks to the local area that it helps produce on behalf of hosts.
In January, Hostfully merged with Oribrental. Hostfully had specialized in guest communication services, while Orbirental had focused on helping owners list their properties on major online platforms.
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: Several employees of Guesty, a vacation rental property management startup that has raised $35 million in Series C funding, gather for a team photo. Amiad Soto, co-founder and CEO of Guesty, is not present. Guesty