Skift Take

This week’s startup funding announcements reveal broader industry investment themes, such as the need for marketing tools for the owners of short-term rentals and for talent recruitment technology to help fill labor gaps in the tourism industry.

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 $109 million in funding.

Earlier this week, we reported that Selina had raised $100 million in fresh financing.

Access Industries led the Series C round. Grupo Wiese and existing investors Colony Latam Partners also participated.

Selina, based in Tel Aviv, runs a network of 46 properties in a dozen Latin American countries and Portugal. It offers private and shared accommodation with coworking facilities, cafes, wellness, and local experiences.

>>Rentals United, which provides a tech platform for vacation rental property managers, has raised $4.25 million.

Stella EOC, a boutique investment bank, invested via its venture capital arm. Howzat Partners, a venture capital investment firm with a specialty in travel, also invested.

The channel manager and marketing tool for short-term rentals, founded in Stockholm in 2015, said it helps more than 2,000 property managers distribute more than 250,000 listings to more than 60 travel aggregators, such as Airbnb,, and HomeAway.

“We have managed to sign more than 50 percent of the world’s largest property managers as clients,” claimed James Burrows, CEO of Rentals United. He also claimed his company held a record among channel managers for on-boarding the most properties onto Airbnb in 2018.

>>Grooves, a Tokyo-based tourism industry talent recruitment technology company, has raised $3 million.

JTB, a travel agency, and the All-Japan Tourism National Fund invested. Groves said it had raised over $12 million since being founded in 2004.

The startup says it helps connect Southeast Asians to job opportunities in Japan at more than 5,000 participating corporations. The company plans to expand to Malaysia soon.

“We believe that the linguistic and management skills of these foreign workers will help elevate the tourism experience in Japan,” said Grooves CEO Yukihiro Ikemi.

>>TripScout, a travel discovery app, has raised $2.1 million in seed funding.

Corazon Capital led the round. New Stack Ventures, Village Global, 500 Startups, and other investors also participated.

Co-founded by CEO Konrad Waliszewski and chief product officer Andy Acs, TripScout calls itself a travel entertainment platform for visual discovery that features the best articles and videos from top publishers and local influencers for each destination.

>>Flynote, a travel management platform, has been accepted into top-tier venture capital firm Sequoia Capital India’s new startup incubator Surge, which, along with the VC firm, has invested about $200,000 in seed funding in the company. Oyo’s CEO Ritesh Agarwal is one of the mentors in the Surge program.

Flynote connects leisure travelers to agents to help design tours and book travel. The three-month program began in April with a mix of workshops.

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, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: Shown here are members of the Rentals United startup. James Burrows, CEO, is in the middle. Co-founder Vanessa de Souza Lage is to the left of him. Rentals United, which provides a tech platform for vacation rental property managers, has raised $4.25 million. Rentals United

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