Skift Take

This week travel startups announced approximately $95 million in funding. One standout was Socio, a company that offers software for managing events. Its funding highlights a broader trend of investment in the event tech sector.

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 approximately $95 million in funding.

Earlier this week, RedDoorz, a branded budget hotel chain, raised $45 million in a Series B round. The Singapore-based competitor to much-larger Oyo had its round led by Chinese venture capital firm Qiming Venture Partners. Qiming was joined by MNC Group.

Also this week United Air Lines took a stake in Clear, a biometric tech company that aims to help travelers pass through security screening more quickly. The New York-based tech company has raised more than $35 million over time.

Earlier this week Wyndham Destinations said it would take an equity interest in vacation rental property management service Vacasa of up to $30 million in a deal where final terms are still being negotiated.

>>Socio, whose software helps event organizers market and manage their gatherings, closed a $6 million Series A round of funding.

High Alpha Capital led the round. Greenspring Associates participated.

The Indianapolis-based startup said its client base has grown to more than 400 customers and 7,000 event planners. It currently has 35 employees, and it is hoping to triple that headcount by the end of 2020. The company previously raised a $725,000 seed round.

“The average B2B company spends around 22 percent of its marketing budget on events,” said Socio co-founder and CEO Yarkin Sakucoglu. The startup aims to claim its share of that typical expenditure.

>>, an online travel agency, raised $5.6 million (€5 million) in funding.

Joost Romeijn from the Sunweb Group led the investment.

Founded in 2017 by CEO Judith Eyck, the startup offers accommodations, rental cars, and flights to leisure travelers.

It aims to add a chatbot soon. It wants to simplify the travel booking process by narrowing choices to a handful based on what it learns about any given customer, CEO Judith Eyck said.

>>Upgrade Pack, a travel-focused financial tech company, has closed a seed round of $4.3 million.

Investors include David Brownlow and Ben Rawson of Havisham Group. The company also crowd-funded about $607,000 (£500,000) via Seedrs in April.

The London-based company offers leisure travelers who pay a subscription access to get “exclusive discounts” on flight and hotel upgrades. The startup, which launched a year ago, is about to debut a mobile app.

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 Skift’s Top Travel Startups to Watch in 2019, here.

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Tags: funding, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: An example of an event in London managed with technology by Socio, a startup that has raised funding. Socio

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