Skift Take

This week, travel startups announced more than $139 million in funding for concepts including extended-stay corporate housing, short-term rental-style pop-up hotels, co-living spaces, and landing ports for flying taxis.

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 $139 million in funding.

>>Zeus Living, an extended-stay, serviced lodging company, has secured $55 million in Series B funding.

Airbnb, Comcast, CEAS Investments, and TI Platform Management participated in the round.

Zeus offers professionals furnished homes for stays of a month or longer. Its average resident stay length is three months. Zeus has grown to more than 2,000 homes across San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

The plan is for Zeus to expand internationally and make it easy for workers to move cities, said Kulveer Taggar, CEO and co-founder.

Airbnb will list some of the Zeus Living properties under its Airbnb for Work extended-stay offerings, which the company says accounts for about 15 percent of all its rental bookings.

Since it launched in 2015, Zeus has hosted more than 27,000 residents. It has raised $90 million in total funding, it said. For more context, read “Corporate Housing Is Getting (a Little) Less Boring.”

>>HappyEasyGo, an online travel agency based in Gurugram, India, has raised about $49.3 million (350 crore rupees) in a Series B funding round.

Korea Investment Partners (KIP), Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (SVIC), 10 Fund, CVCapital, and others participated.

HappyEasyGo launched two years ago as a flight-booking site and app but has recently added hotel listings. It hasn’t disclosed how much it has raised in earlier rounds. It tries to use marketing partnerships with companies like Samsung, Airtel Payments Bank, and Oman Air to find users more cheaply than through digital advertising, said CEO Boris Zha.

For context, see the Skift Deep Dive: What India Reveals About the Future of Online Travel.

>>WhyHotel, a short-term rental company that furnishes and runs units in new luxury apartments, has raised more than $20 million in Series B funding.

Harbert Growth Partners led the round. Camber Creek, Highland Capital Partners, Working Lab Capital, Geolo Capital, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, and other investors participated.

The Washington, D.C.-based company has raised more than $35 million since it launched in 2017. It runs 100- to 250-room pop-up hotels. It works with property developers to optimize their investment during lease-up. Its new business arm, Hospitality Living, aims to let Why Hotel build high-rise developments for permanent use starting in 2022.

For context on the sector, see our article summarizing last week’s Short-Term Rental Summit: 5 Smart Insights for the Short-Term Rental Industry.

>>ZoloStays, a co-living startup, has raised $7 million.

Venture debt firm Trifecta Capital led the investment. In January, ZoloStays raised $30 million in a Series B round from investors such as IDFC Alternatives, Mirae Asset, and Nexus Venture Partners.

Founded in 2015, Zolo manages shared and private rooms in hostels and apartments in 10 Indian cities for extended stays. It competes with companies like Oyo Life, StanzaLiving, and Hello World.

The Bengaluru-based Zolo has raised about $42 million to date. The Economic Times first reported on the Zolo and the HappyEasyGo fundings.

>>Skyports, which provides vertiports, or take-off and landing spots for flying taxis, as well as drone platforms, has raised $6.9 million (£5.35 million) in Series A funding.

Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures (DBDV) and airport operator Groupe ADP co-led the round.

London-based Skyports is working with the leading electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger and cargo vehicle manufacturers to secure, design, build, own, and operate vertiports.

>>Tripeur, a corporate travel management company, has raised $1 million in seed funding

SenseAI, Better Capital, Alacrity India, Patni Wealth Advisors, and other investors participated in the round.

Tripeur provides companies with online booking tools and a chatbot-based virtual travel assistant to help small- and medium-sized businesses control more of their business travel spending, said Thiagarajan Rajagopalan, co-founder and CEO.

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: Chief Technology Officer Joe Wong, Chief Operating Officer Srini Panguluri, and CEO Kulveer Taggar together co-founded Zeus, a corporate hospitality startup that has raised more than $90 million in funding. Zeus

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