From TripActions' quarter billion dollar investment round to Emerging Travel Group's solid $10 million round, there's lots going on in travel startup funding this week.
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 Tim Mullaney at [email protected] if you have funding news.
Travel startups announced more than $360 million in funding in the last couple weeks. Here’s this latest in tech funding.
Since our last roundup, Skift covered TripActions’ $250 million investment, Asian tour aggregator’s BeMyGuest undisclosed Series B funding, and one-app global ride-hailing solution Splyt’s $8 million in Series A funding. In addition, Skift reported that Indonesia’s leading online travel agency Traveloka invested an undisclosed amount, unofficially said to be about $2.2 million ($3 million Singaporean) in PouchNATION, a Singapore-based events company whose electronic wristbands enable payments at events.
Here are other companies that recently announced funding rounds.
>>Huangbaoche, a tour guide and transportation platform, has raised $50 million in Series C funding.
Shenzhen Capital Group led the latest round and the company has now raised $155.6 million in total.
Like other tours and activities businesses, it has grown steadily over the past couple of years and claims to be in more than 90 countries and 1,800 cities.
>>Bus.com, a bus-charter platform based in Montreal, raised $14.9 million ($19.6 million CAD) in Series B funding led by Autotech Ventures and Cycle Capital Management. In the age of “flying shame,” the Uber-like business model offers group travelers another greener alternative—without the hassle of old-school bus charter companies. They plan to use the funding to add talent to the company.
While the dynamic pricing platform started out with a consumer-facing model akin to the likes of Hopper, Google Flights, and Kayak, it has since pivoted to an enterprise focus, selling its fare prediction technology to airlines that want to boost conversions. Though backers for this round were not disclosed, former investors have included Peter Thiel, JetBlue Technology Ventures, AXA Strategic Investors, and Amadeus.
As its CTO and co-founder Alexander Mans told Kambr Media, “We can give airlines some cushion to defend against tougher times and increase their ability to cope with changing conditions— something machine learning is perfectly suited for.”
>>Emerging Travel Group, which owns RateHawk, ZenHotels, and Ostrovok, has closed a $10 million financing round led by technology entrepreneur Lev Leviev of LVL1 Group and the family office of Playrix co-founders, Igor and Dmitri Bukhman. The investment aims to accelerate the development and further international expansion of the Group
Entrepreneur Lev Leviev of LVL1 Group and the family office of Playrix co-founders, Igor and Dmitri Bukhman, led the round. Emerging Travel Group raised $53 million before this round according to its press releases.
The company’s business-to-business Brand, RateHawk, is an online hotel-booking platform that sources more than 1 million hotels, apartments, and hostels from 85 suppliers worldwide and 29,000 direct hotel contracts and is used by over 9,500 travel professionals. RateHawk plans to hire more than 50 workers thanks to the funding.
>>ConnexPay, a payment provider for travel companies, has raised a Series A funding round of $7 million. BIP Capital led the round. The startup hasn’t revealed a prior seed funding amount.
ConnexPay works by seamlessly matching payments from businesses to travel suppliers in real-time. The technology reduces risk, eliminating the need for online travel agencies, tour operators, and consolidators to pre-fund payments or obtain lines of credit.
The Atlanta-based startup describes its service as matching payments from travel buyers to travel suppliers in real-time and thus eliminate the need for online travel agencies, tour operators, and consolidators to pre-fund payments or obtain lines of credit.
For example, ConnexPay lets its customers use Visa single-use virtual credit cards to enable payments to travel suppliers.
>>Citcon, a financial technology company that helps Western companies accept the preferred forms of digital payment of Chinese travelers, said it recently raised $5 million in venture funding in an undisclosed series of investment.
East West Bank provided the investment, which brought Citcon’s total funding to $15 million in venture financing to date.
By the end of this year, Citcon expects to help more than 50,000 retail, travel, and other merchants in the U.S., Canada, and Europe accept cross-border mobile payments from Chinese buyers. It offers point-of-sale and online solutions to accept QR-based mobile wallets from Alipay, WeChat Pay, and China UnionPay. It also helps merchants run marketing and loyalty campaigns.
>>OccasionGenius, an event discovery technology company, has raised $3.1 million in seed funding.
CVA Angels and 757 Angels were major contributors to the funding.
The Richmond, Virginia-based company helps hotels and other companies inform guests about events nearby that may be of interest. It aims to match event recommendations to guests based on data it analyzes about the guests.
>>Taxi2Airport, an airport transfers platform, has raised $2.5 million (€2.2 million) in Series A funding. VOC Capital Partners and existing investor Venture Builders Capital participated in the round.
The Amsterdam-based firm, which has now raised a total of $3.6 million (€3.2 million), plans to use the cash to add more business partnerships and expand into Asia.
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: Emerging Travel Group CEO Felix Shpilman Emerging Travel Group