Skift Take

If search for travel looking for door-to door trip options was a massive potential market, then Expedia, Booking Holdings, Ctrip, or Google would have already snapped up these companies, which have been laboring around that premise for years. This stuff is hard to execute, as the relatively modest exit seems to show.

Rome2Rio, which was supposed to be part of the next big thing in trip planning and travel booking, appears to have made a relatively soft landing — one source called it a “fire sale” — into the waiting clutches of its Berlin-based rival, Omio.

The Melbourne, Australia-based Rome2Rio, which has loaded up on travel industry innovation awards since its founding nearly a decade ago, specializes in so-called multi-model travel, taking users from their homes or businesses via cars, trains, planes, ferries, and buses to their destinations.

The deal was not a fire sale, according to a spokesperson from Omio. “The founders/shareholders were very happy with the overall outcome,” the spokesperson said. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SimilarWeb data measured Rome2Rio’s visits at more than 18 million on desktop and mobile in September compared with more than 6 million for Omio, which was formerly known as GoEuro.

A search for a Duisburg, Germany to Barcelona trip on Omio on Thursday defaulted to flights and displayed no train options, while the same query on Rome2Rio was rife with rail and air choices.

Omio has the much-larger funding war chest of the two, $296 million versus $3.1 million, according to Crunchbase. Rome2Rio’s seed investors include several angels, as well as Commercialisation Australia, a government program, as well as India online travel agency Cleartrip.

“We are excited to welcome the Rome2rio team to Omio,” said Naren Shaam, founder and CEO of Omio in a prepared statement. “They have built a great product with innovative tech and delivered impressive growth. Together, our two brands will reach half a billion users every year and offer access to thousands of transportation operators globally, helping us deliver our vision to solve consumer travel globally.”

In their announcement, the companies said they will mesh “Rome2Rio’s impressive end-to-end journey planning offer with extensive transport inventory bookable with Omio.”

The companies said that for Omio, which launched in 2013, the acquisition is an “important first step towards a global offering.”

Rome2Rio co-founder and CEO Michael Cameron said in the announcement that the deal means that his company’s customers will be able to book through more operators, and will receive additional support throughout their trips.

Omio said it partners with 800 transport operators in Europe while search via Rome2Rio accesses information from some 5,000 providers in more than 160 countries.

The two companies will remain separate brands in the short-term but officials weren’t saying whether that would be the case in the long term.


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Tags: cars, flights, goeuro, m&a, mergers, mergers and acquisitions, omio, rail, rome2rio, startups

Photo credit: New Jersey Transit commuters walk at the train station in Hoboken, New Jersey. Omio bought Rome2Rio; both companies offer train choices for travel from city to city. Bloomberg

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