This week, travel startups announced more than $433 million in funding. Companies included Chengjia, Holidu, AvantStay, WanderJaunt, Lavanda, Kambr, Amenitiz, and Beekeeper.
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 [email protected] if you have funding news.
This week, travel startups announced more than $433 million in funding.
Thayer Ventures and Swisscanto, an asset manager that invested via its growth equity fund, co-led the Series B round. The Zurich-based startup has now raised $71 million to date.
>>Chengjia, whose eight brands offer hotel-style, short-term rentals of apartments, stays in hotels, and related hospitality services, has raised $300 million in a Series A funding round.
Boyu Capital led the round. Other investors included Yunfeng Capital, Ascott, and CCB International, which is the investment banking arm of China Construction Bank. Chengjia had received financing of about $52 million before this raise.
The company, founded in 2015 by China Living Hotel Group and IDG Capital, manages about 100 properties with approximately 20,000 apartment units. It offers the units in a mix of models including hotel, short-term stay, weekly rent, monthly rent, and extended stay.
China Living Hotel Group has a publicly held subsidiary named Huazhu Hotels Group whose 4,665 hotels (including the ones under the flagship Huazhu brand) generated $417 million in revenue in the second quarter of this year.
Huazhu president Hui Jin serves double duty as Chengjia’s CEO. Jin’s goal is to operate short- and extended-stay rental services on the same technology stack and with the same operational team. Huazhu, in turn, runs franchises for Accor and runs its own new brand of Oyo-style budget hotels called H Hotel.
>>Holidu, a vacation rental startup, has raised $44 million (€40 million) in Series C financing round.
Prime Ventures led the round. Coparion and MairDuMont Ventures also participated. Past investors EQT Ventures, Venture Stars, and Senovo re-upped their involvement.
Earlier this year, Münich-based Holidu acquired its Spanish rival Hundredrooms. Its search engine works in 21 markets and serves more than 10 million visitors a month, the company said.
Holidu comparison-shops more than 15 million rental properties across 600 sources, such as Airbnb, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Vrbo.
Holidu, founded in 2014 by CEO Johannes Siebers and Michael Siebers, recently entered the business services market with a new tool called Bookiply. The tool helps vacation rental owners run websites, sync calendars, track photo assets, and distribute inventory to major online channels such as Booking.com. Owners manage about 5,000 properties through the new product so far.
“Johannes and Michael are ambitious and highly committed founders,” said Kees Koolen, senior advisor at EQT Ventures and former CEO and chairman of Booking.com, in a statement.
>>AvantStay, a short-term rental brand focusing on group travel, has raised a $20 million Series A financing round.
3L Capital led the round. Bullpen Capital, Convivialite Ventures, F-Prime Capital, and Zeno Ventures, participated, along with angel investor Shaun White.
AvantStay runs nearly 150 properties in the U.S.
Marriott International said Wednesday it would soon make AvantStay properties available for booking as part of its Homes & Villas network. Members of Marriott’s Bonvoy loyalty program will be able to earn and redeem points for stays. AvantStay properties also appear on Airbnb, Vrbo, and elsewhere.
The startup has built a group booking platform, a concierge app, and an in-home tablet for use by guests. CEO Sean Breuner and co-founder Reuben Doetsch launched the Los Angeles company in 2017.
“No one else is solving the pain points involved in group travel, such as the pressures on the planner of the group to manage the trip and corral the payments,” said Breuner.
>>WanderJaunt, a short-term vacation rental property management company, has raised a $15 million Series B.
Founders Fund led the round. Tribe Capital participated along with other investors.
WanderJaunt handles operations, maintenance, interior design, and the listing of homeowners’ properties on our platform and others’, including Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com. The San Francisco-based company is operational in the Phoenix and Austin, Texas metro areas, with more than 300 units.
The startup has raised $27 million to date. The company plans to operate in four U.S. markets by the end of the year, said WanderJaunt co-founder and CEO Michael Chen.
>>Lavanda, a company that helps institutional real estate portfolios offer Airbnb-style short-term rentals that comply with local regulations, has secured a $5 million Series-A round.
Henley Ventures, the venture arm of global private equity real estate investor Henley Investments, led the round.
Lavanda’s software lets residential landlords and asset managers run short- and medium-term rental strategies across their domestic and international portfolios of properties. Users can manage operations on their own or use one of Lavanda’s more than 35 recommended property management teams.
Real-estate companies can supplement their multifamily, build-to-rent, and student accommodation with short-term rentals. Today, companies like JLL, Aberdeen Standard Investments, Savills, LaSalle, Long Harbour, and Europa Capital manage more than 10,000 units via the system.
>>Kambr, a commercial airline intelligence service, has closed a $4 million seed round.
Founder Collective, Global Founders Capital, Studio VC, Silicon Badia, C2 Ventures Capital Partners, and TXV Partners invested.
Many airlines are upgrading their technology, especially for revenue management, and Kambr aims to get some of that business. Kambr’s software arm offers tools to airlines for automation, control, and applied data science. Its consulting service strives to help carriers maximize their commercial operations. Its media arm produces content of relevance to commercial aviation.
Kambr launched this year. Its co-founders include executives who previously worked at Mercator, a travel technology company with revenue management systems that Warburg Pincus acquired about four years ago.
>>Amenitiz, which is like a Shopify service for the hotel industry, has raised about $700,000 (€620,000) in a seed round.
Otium Capital participated in the round, as did travel industry angel investors such as the chief marketing officer of Liligo, the CEO of Weekendesk, and the chief commercial officer of Groupcorner. Arthur Waller, who founded PriceMatch and then sold that revenue management startup’s technology to Booking.com, is on Amenitiz’s board.
Amenitiz offers hotels a tool to build websites that include an internet booking engine. It also offers a tool for distributing inventory across various channels, such as online travel agencies. It offers a simple property management system, too. The Barcelona-based startup has 14 full-time workers.
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.
Photo credit: A two-bedroom "aparthotel" from Citadines in Xi'an, China. Citadines Aparthotel is one of the brands of Chengjia, a company that raised $300 million in Series B investment this week. Citadines Aparthotel Aparthotel