Skift Take

This week, travel startups, including TravelFlan, Beachy, HalalBooking, and GuruWalk, announced more than $63 million in funding. Most notably, Domio disclosed a $50 million Series B round, underscoring the ongoing growth in the short-term rental of apartments with hotel-style services.

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 $63 million in funding.

>>Domio, an apartment hotel company, has disclosed that in August it closed a $50 million Series B round of venture equity funding.

GGV Capital led the round. Eldridge Industries, 3L Capital, Tribeca Venture Partners, SoftBank New York, and Tenaya Capital participated.

In September, we shared that credit fund Upper90 had led a separate $50 million of debt funding.

Domio runs short-term rentals that offer hotel-style amenities. It does this by leasing and operating units in buildings. Peer companies include Sonder and Lyric Hospitality. The brands aim to popularize professionally managed rental alternatives to generic hotel rooms.

In 2018, Domio said it had raised $12 million in a Series A funding round led by Tribeca Venture Partners. Earlier, it raised about $5 million in equity and convertible debt financing.

The startup, co-founded by CEO Jay Roberts in 2016, serves 12 U.S. cities, such as San Diego, Boston, Honolulu, and Nashville. Over the next year, it plans to add 13 more markets.

>>TravelFlan, which helps companies sell travel services to consumers in China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia, has raised $7 million in Series A funding.

SPK AI Travel Tech, part of Lazard Korea, led the round. Construction-Radiant Tech Ventures, ITVFC, Artesian Capital, SOSV, and Linear Capital also participated. The startup is a graduate of the Chinaccelerator program. It has previously raised about $3 million.

Launched in 2016 as a direct-to-consumer service, TravelFlan has since moved into providing its services on behalf of other business, such as China Mobile, Samsung Group, and Hong Kong Airlines. Its travel agents get help from its technological solutions, such as chatbots and trip recommendation software that are powered by deep learning. DealStreetAsia first reported the funding news.

>>Beachy, a provider of enterprise software to hotels and resorts, has closed a seed round of $5.5 million. Snowbridge Capital and other investors took part.

Beachy, based in Nashville, lets resort guests book prime spots by the pool or beach in a more efficient digital way. It can also streamline the process for guests to order food and beverages or rental equipment, such as jet skis.

>>HalalBooking, an online travel agency, has raised $2.5 million in a Series A round.

Many investors participated, with key participation by Azar Gurbanov, a co-founder of wellness e-commerce company

Just as halal food means meals allowed under Islamic dietary laws, HalalBooking helps people choose accommodation worldwide according to filters of places that offer halal Food, a no-alcohol policy, or that provide “ladies privacy.” Halal is Arabic for “permissible.”

Net revenues grew 60 percent this year, despite challenging trading conditions in key markets, including the UK, Germany, and Turkey, said Elnur Seyidli, CEO of HalalBooking.

HalalBooking is on track to reach $30 million in bookings by the year-end, though that represents only a slice of the broader opportunity. The global market for halal-friendly travel is predicted to reach $274 billion by 2024, some analysts predicted.

>>GuruWalk, a walking tour company, has raised about $1.1 million in seed funding.

SeedRocket, a startup accelerator, joined other investors in the funding.

GuruWalk, founded in Valencia, Spain, in 2017, has run tours in almost 100 countries.

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: Shown here is an interior unit at Domio Downtown Miami, a collection of apartments furnished, managed, and rented out by Domio. The hospitality brand disclosed this week that it has raised $50 million in Series B equity funding. Domio

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