Skift Take

Two event tech startups, Bizzabo and Gather, have raised millions in funding to help businesses and restaurants manage and grow events. The companies are benefiting from a 2019 Megatrend that Skift summarized as "real-world experiences gain value in an era of tech burnout."

Series: Startups This Week

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 $119 million in venture capital equity funding.

Earlier this week we covered Airbnb’s Series B lead investment in Lyric, a U.S. short-term rental brand, about $75 million of which was venture equity.

We also noted that Splitty, an Israel-based hotel booking platform, raised $6.75 million in Series A funding led by Fosun RZ Capital and joined by other investors including Cockpit Innovation.

Here are other companies that announced this week that they had raised funding.

>>Bizzabo, a developer of event software, raised $27 million in Series D funding.

Viola Growth led the round, with Next47, Pilot Growth, and Maor Investments participating. The round brings Bizzabo’s total funding to $56 million.

Bizzabo aims to make it easier to create, manage, and execute every aspect of events for companies like HubSpot, GainSight, Dow Jones, and Teach for America.

The Tel Aviv-based startup, which was founded in 2011 and now has more than 120 workers, provides online software to enterprise and mid-market organizations to “build data-driven, personalized, and engaging professional event experiences.”

The funding will be used to ramp up Bizzabo’s research-and-development and sales teams in New York and Tel Aviv.

About a quarter of marketing spend by business-to-business companies is on live events, said Eran Ben-Shushan, CEO and co-founder.

>>Gather, an events platform for hotels and restaurants, raised an undisclosed amount of funding.

Enlightened Hospitality Investments, the growth equity fund affiliated with Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), led the round of an unspecified series. In 2017, private equity firm Vista Equity Partners invested $55 million in the company. In 2016, Gather raised $2.5 million in a Series A round.

Gather helps restaurants and venues manage and grow event programs into new revenue sources by streamlining sales and workflow.

Last year, Gather acquired EventUp, an online listings marketplace for event venues, as Skift Table reported.

>>Tripoto, a New Delhi-based maker of a social travel platform, raised $3.6 million in funding.

Hornbill Orchid India Fund, 3one4 Capital, Chiratae Ventures (formerly IDG Ventures), and Lasmer participated as investors. The startup has raised a total of about $7 million.

Tripoto unites user-generated travel content, community forums, and a travel products marketplace. More than 2 million travel itineraries with videos and photographs have been posted on the platform since its founding about five years ago. The software also enables offline travel agents to sell to potential online customers.

The company has more than 6 million monthly active users and intends to grow more non-English content, short video, and influencer commerce, said Anirudh Gupta, co-founder and CEO.

>>Locale, an Austin-based apartment-hotel provider, has closed $2.5 million in seed funding.

Amplo and Susa Ventures led the round.

The company leases and manages more than 150 furnished “apart-hotels” in Austin, Houston, and Nashville for short and extended stays.

Locale, founded in 2016 by CEO Nitesh Gandhi and now with 25 workers, has planned expansion to buildings in San Francisco, Santa Monica, and Denver by early 2020.

>>MeetingPackage, a technology provider for hotels and meeting venues, revealed it closed about $1.7 million (€1.5 million) round in late 2018.

The company, founded in 2014 in Espoo, Finland, by CEO Joonas Ahola, helps hotels and other event venues sell meeting and event space online in several ways. It also offers a booking engine for venues’ websites to supplement manual workflows.

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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Tags: funding, meetingsiq, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: An image from the HubSpot Inbound 2018 conference in Boston. Hubspot used the services of meetings tech startup Bizzabo to run its event. Bizzabo raised $27 million in Series D funding this week. HubSpot

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