Skift Take

Melbourne, Australia-based luggage maker July was one of several travel startups that announced collectively more than $21 million in funding this week.

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 more than $21 million in funding.

>>July, a direct-to-consumer luggage maker based in Melbourne, has raised $7.1 million ($10.5 million Australian) in funding.

Strandbags, a Malta-based owner of travel goods stores, led the round with a $5.5 million ($8 million Australian) stake.

July, which formally launched carry-on luggage for general sale in February, markets primarily to travelers in Australia, Singapore, and Shanghai. The company said it has made its cases curvier and added aluminum bumpers to bag edges to reduce impact when baggage handlers toss the bags. July also said its wheels are quieter and more resilient than average.

For more context on the sector, see a video of Jen Rubio, co-founder of cult luggage company Away, discussing her business plan at Skift Global Forum 2019 in New York.

>>Zen Rooms, a budget and mid-range hotel aggregator in Southeast Asia, has received an undisclosed sum in a Series B round of investment from Yanolja, an online hotel seller in South Korea.

Access Ventures also invested in this round. Germany’s Rocket Internet created the startup.

In 2018, Yanolja, which offers online booking mainly in South Korea, invested $15 million in the Singapore-based startup. Yanolja is backed by Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC and by Booking Holdings. It got its start selling “love hotels.”

>>Remote Year, a program that lets employees work in a different global city every month, raised $5 million in funding.

Lightbank led the round. Highland Capital Partners and other investors participated.

>>Fitt, a service that matches health and fitness buffs with events, gyms, and restaurants, has raised an undisclosed round of seed funding. Research service PitchBook said it was $4 million.

Mountain State Capital led the round. Riverfront Ventures and Mindbody also invested, as did past investor TNC Ventures.

Fitt, founded in Pittsburgh in 2017, is primarily a mobile app that is a listing service for discovering fitness, outdoor events, and healthy food restaurants in 31 cities in the U.S. Canada, Britain, and Australia. While its main audience is locals, the information can also be used for travelers visiting an unfamiliar location. The company markets its service with an email newsletter and podcast.

>>Airalo, a seller of eSIMS, or data packs for smartphones that enables travelers to buy internet connections at local rates, recently said it had raised $1.75 million in seed funding from angel investors. It’s a graduate of the Antler startup accelerator.

The Singapore-based company makes it faster for owners of the latest Android and Apple smartphones to take advantage of a new technology in the devices. Airalo lets you avoid having to buy and insert a local data card and instead activate a virtual one that operates on a local telecommunications company network at your destination. This approach can cost less for a traveler than buying a roaming international plan from the traveler’s home telecommunications provider.

Online and offline travel agencies could offer the service as an upsell to customers booking travel.

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.

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


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Tags: funding, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: From left: Shown here are the co-founders, Richard Li and Athan Didaskalou of Melbourne-based luggage maker July, which was one of several travel startups that announced collectively more than $21 million in funding this week. July

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