This week, the startups Aero, TravelBank, Impala, Quicko, and Fyle together announced more than $45 million in funding.
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.
This week, travel startups announced more than $45 million in funding.
>>Aero Technologies, a private jet company, has revealed that it has raised $16 million in funding.
Investors include GGV Capital and Expa, which is a startup studio, or incubator.
Unlike other private jet services, Aero aims to stand out by focusing on connecting millennials with destinations that offer Instagram-worthy experiences. Two upcoming routes include a route from Oakland to the ski slopes of Telluride, Colorado, and between Mykonos, Greece, and the nightlife destination of Ibiza, Spain.
Aero is building out its operation and its own fleet of aircraft, targeting a second-quarter 2020 launch of its branded service. In the meantime, Aero doesn’t own or operate aircraft but instead provides ticket resale for flights on registered air carriers on selected routes.
Aero will use the funding to build a mobile-first booking and ticketing system that matches up flyers who want to go to the same destination with small carriers willing to provide service.
Aero has named Uma Subramanian as its new CEO. Subramanian formerly worked on Airbus’ helicopter service Voom.Flights. Subramanian has hired Luanne Calvert, the former chief marketing officer at Virgin America and Virgin Atlantic, to handle Aero’s marketing.
Some private jet startups, like OneJet and BlackJet, have struggled and shut down, while others, such as Surf Air, claim to have gotten traction. Competitors include Wheels Up, which runs a private flight membership program and owns dozens of aircraft, and Zunum, a charter air service backed by the venture arms of Boeing and JetBlue. See our story earlier this week on how private jet services face an identity crisis.
>>Impala, a service that lets third-party hotel tech providers connect into property management systems, has closed an $11 million Series A round.
Stride.VC and Xavier Niel led the round. Insight Partners co-founder Jerry Murdock, Tom Stafford, and the partners of DST Global also participated.
Impala aims to make it easier for vendors to access booking and inventory data from hotels. Its model is the ease of taking payments with Stripe, the widely used credit card register.
Impala, based in London and founded in 2017, participated in the Techstars Berlin Hospitality program. It previously raised a $2 million round from Howzat Partners and others.
>>TravelBank, a business travel and expense management service, has received a strategic capital investment of an undisclosed amount from Dreamers VC.
TravelBank had raised $35 million in investment before this round. It serves more than 120,000 users at about 20,000 organizations.
>>Quicko, a mobile app for choosing on-the-ground transport, has raised $10 million of seed funding.
CCR (Camargo Corrêa), which runs several Latin American airports among other activities, and J2L, a private equity fund, led the round.
Quicko’s mobile app helps residents and visitors to major cities choose the best route between destinations across subways, buses, bike shares, ridehailing, and electric scooters. Quicko isn’t a traditional travel startup. But it has many integrations with travel sector suppliers.
Its first city is its home of São Paulo. But it hopes to launch in London and other cities soon.
>>Fyle, a maker of expense management software, has raised an additional $4.5 million in venture capital investment following its Series A round in April 2019.
Steadview Capital led the round. Tiger Global, Freshworks, and Pravega Ventures also participated. Fyle, based in Bengaluru, India, has raised a total of $10.5 million in equity funding.
Fyle’s target customers are small- and medium-size businesses needing help with tracking expenses. More than 300 companies in the U.S., India, Singapore, and Europe use its software.
Fyle has a WhatsApp integration to enable users to text an expense via WhatsApp and automatically create an expense entry. Users can also file expenses within Google G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 or enable automated expense reporting directly from their email inboxes.
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. These fundraising rounds can assist in 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.
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Photo credit: Aero CEO Uma Subramanian is shown here speaking on the Wheels to Wings panel at a ClimateOne event in San Francisco in August 2019. The company has raised $16 million in funding for next-generation chartered air service. Aero