By investing in bus booking company Buser, SoftBank continues to add travel-related startups to its portfolio of investments, despite reports of trouble due to its investments in WeWork and Uber that have not met its expectations. Plus, we have this week's news of funding for the startups Jiudianbang, Lyte, Situm, and Skyroam.
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 $39 million in funding.
>>Buser, an online booking service for intercity buses, has raised an undisclosed funding round.
SoftBank led the round.
In Brazil, intercity bus travel is vital. Air and rail operations are either costly or insufficient for many travelers. Meanwhile, most cities are connected by only one bus company, with limited schedules and routes.
Buser plays matchmaker between travelers in Brazil looking to travel between particular cities on particular dates and executive bus charter companies that can respond to the custom demand.
The startup, founded in São Paulo in late 2016, previously received seed investment from investment funds, Canary, Yellow, and Fundação Estudar.
>>Skyroam, a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot provider, has raised an additional $20 million in addtional Series C funding to add to the $20 million in funding it raised last year in a Series C round led by JAFCO Asia.
Mesh Ventures and Phi Ventures led the round. The startup has reported raising more than $63 million to date.
The San Francisco-based hardware maker creates portable Wi-Fi hotspots. These hotspots enable travelers to connect their devices to the internet in countries where they don’t have service plans with local telecommunications providers. It has recently gained significant traction in China.
>>Lyte, an event ticketing startup, has raised $15 million in Series A funding.
Jackson Square Ventures, Industry Ventures, Accomplice Ventures, and Correlation Ventures participated.
Founded in 2013 in San Francisco, Lyte uses technology and partnerships to eliminate ticket scalping. It uses dynamic pricing based on demand and syncs with the event organizer’s ticketing system, reducing fraud. Lyte is one of Event MB’s 30 apps to watch in 2019.
>>Situm, an indoor-positioning technology company, has received $3.3 million (€3 million) in seed funding.
Swanlaab Venture Factory led the round. Amadeus Ventures, Prosegur Tech Ventures, Unirisco Galicia, and other investors also participated.
Many airports and event organizers use the services of Situm. The startup helps people inside a building find their way using their smartphones.
>>Jiudianbang, a hotel tech company, has raised $1.4 million (10 million yuan) in Series A funding.
Zhucheng Weiye Technology led the round.
The hotel tech vendor, founded about two years ago in Guizhou, China, builds kiosks and mobile tablets for hotels. Guests can check-in and out with the kiosks. Hotels integrate the kiosks seamlessly with their software for managing taxation, record-keeping, and other services.
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.
Photo credit: A Buser intercity charter bus is shown here in a parking lot in Brazil's capital city of São Paulo in early 2019. Buser is a startup that plays matchmaker with travelers looking for intercity travel in Brazil and charter companies that can respond on-demand. Buser