This week, travel startups announced more than $60 million in funding for a business travel management agency, a sightseeing and experiences agency, a white-label travel insurance provider, a short-term rental manager that uses master leases in Asia, and a student travel service.
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 $60 million in funding.
>>Comtravo, a business travel booking startup, has raised a $23.4 million (€21 million) Series B round of venture investment.
Endeit Capital led the round, which follows a $9 million Series A in 2017. New investors included Deutsche Bank and AER Ticket. Past investors Project A, Creandum, and Btov also participated.
The Berlin-based company uses a mix of automation and human agents to help about 700 small businesses, such as the Nagel-Group, LG Innotek, and Hachez, book, manage, and expense their travel.
The company lets businesses use email to interact with it. Many other rival tech companies require users to adapt to a booking tool or app. Comtravo translates emails into data it can manipulate. That helps it automate more than half of the process. Its software recommends promising travel options, based on a user’s shared preferences and past choices. Travelers can book suggested itineraries by clicking a link in an email.
Earlier this year, Skift named Contravo one of the top travel startups to watch. Comtravo, founded in 2015, has more than 30 engineers out of about 110 employees handling more than 1,000 bookings a day. It says “its core business” is now profitable.
>>Tripscool, a travel agency that lists tours and activities, has raised about $11.4 million (80 million yuan) in a Series A funding round.
Zhongji Intellectual Property Financial Services Group led the round. Past investor Space-One Aerospace Technology Enterprise Group also participated.
Tripscool resells more than 14,000 activities and multiday tours from more than 1,000 operators worldwide. It runs online booking websites and apps in English, Chinese, and Japanese languages.
Tripscool stands out for using software to help build self-guided itineraries. It also creates audio tour guide systems. The audio tours let a traveler hear explanations in their preferred language about what they see at a destination.
>>Cover Genius, a technology company that provides creative insurance policies for travel brands to sell, has raised $10 million in a Series B funding round.
King River Capital led the round. Other investors included Regal Funds Management, Marinya Capital, and many angel investors.
Cover Genius is not a travel startup. Travel companies like Booking Holdings-owned RentalCars.com, Despegar, and eTraveli Group, however, are users of its products. The startup lets these brands create travel insurance policies and sell them online in more than 60 countries. Cover Genius pays approved claims via its instant payments platform in more than 90 currencies.
Founded in 2014, the Sydney-based company had before raised about $1 million.
>>OStay, a lodging soft brand, has raised nearly $10 million in Series A funding, the company said.
Daiwa Securities Group and ACA Investment Group of Singapore joined other investors in the round.
Shanghai-based OStay, founded in 2017, works with developers to refurbish properties in cities like Osaka, Tokyo, and Taipei to offer professional management and standardized hotel and hotel-style amenities and services. It helps to market the properties promoted on sites like Agoda and Expedia. It uses technology to provide everything from smart locks to databases for keeping track of furnishings.
Learn more about the broader sector by attending Skift Short-Term Rental Summit in New York city in December.
>>Verto Education, a service that lets first-year university students travel abroad in academically enriched programs, raised $6.3 million in seed funding.
First Round Capital, GSV Ventures, 10xImpact, and Box Group participated in the funding.
The Berkeley, California-based company helps to arrange semester-long and year-long international travel with structured activities. It offers the promise of credit at about a dozen colleges.
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 stand demonstrating Airbnb for Business in Berekley, California, in 2017, and illustrating the concept of business travel. This week, travel startups announced more than $60 million in funding for Comtravo, Tripscool, OStay, Cover Genius, and Verto Education. Airbnb