Travel startups funded this week include a data exchange platform, a direct booking solution for hotels, an intercity bus service, a listing service for recreational vehicles, a service for virtual experiences, and a ticketing tool for activities operators.
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@example.com if you have funding news.
This week, travel startups announced more than $34 million in funding.
>>Journera, a data exchange platform for the travel industry, closed a $11.6 million Series B funding round.
Andreessen Horowitz and B Capital led the round. Pritzker Group Venture Capital and the Boston Consulting Group also participated.
Journera was one of Skift’s top startups to watch.
One of Journera’s most popular services now is for hotels managing early check-in and late check-out hand-off for guests. The service lets hotels using popular property management systems such as Oracle Opera, Protel, Infor HMS, and Mews, to connect to Journera. They can then be alerted by airlines when a customer’s flight may have changed a traveler’s departure or arrival time.
For a late flight, the data can help hotels plan for a late check-in and timing when housekeeping will turn a room. A hotel could also use the data to make offer relevant upsells, such as for a late check-out.
Journera can help travel suppliers fill in the outline of a customer’s journey without accessing personally identifiable information or storing customer data they shouldn’t have. It can tie the insights into a supplier’s other systems, such as housekeeping task management software or a marketing department’s customer relationship management software.
“What’s unique and patented is that we don’t store any personal information,” said CEO Jeffrey Katz, the former founding chairman, president, and CEO of Orbitz Worldwide, president of Sabre, and CEO of Swissair.
“When we communicate with an airline brand or a hotel brand or ride-share brand, we communicate only with an encrypted ID, and they use that to translate it back to the customer information a customer has volunteered to share with them,” Katz said.
>>The Hotels Network (THN), which offers hotels help boosting direct bookings by adding tools to their website and booking engine, has secured $11 million (€10 million) in Series B funding.
Elaia led the round. Seaya Ventures and Seedrocket 4Founders also took part.
The Barcelona-based startup, founded in 2015, said its services are used by more than 5,000 hotels, with clients including brands like all the properties in One&Only, Minor Hotels, and Barceló Hotel Group.
“A hotel’s tech stack typically has a property management system, a central reservation system, a booking engine, a channel manager, a reputation management service, a revenue management tool, etc.,” said CEO Juanjo Rodríguez. “We don’t compete with any of those. We build a set of growth tools that sit on top of those systems.”
“We help a hotel brand, typically brands in the three- and five-star range, interact with customers more effectively,” Rodríguez said. “Hotel sites tend to be very static. So we help make them more dynamic. We reduce friction and encourage bookings by offering some price comparison tools and by employing personalization by telling a story in a relevant way.”
“We’ve gone really deep into personalization in marketing to people a hotel brand may never have encountered before and have any data on,” Rodríguez said.
“Hoteliers are now able to get closer to their customers, which is the essence of the industry,” said Pauline Roux, partner at Elaia. “This opportunity, together with the company’s success to date, make us believe that THN will become a major global player in the hotel tech industry.”
>>React Mobile, an employee safety platform, raised $6 million in funding.
Brady Corporation, a public company, led the investment. While not a travel-specific company, React Mobile sells its “panic buttons” to hotels as one of its business lines.
>>Yolobus, an upscale intercity bus service for India, has closed a $3.3 million Series A round of financing.
Nexus Venture Partners led the round. India Quotient also took part.
Yolobus aims to rethink how intercity bus service can operate with reliable, comfortable service between cities while keeping operational costs down. Based in Gurgaon, the company has raised a total of $4.1 million in funding to date.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the company adopted stricter cleanliness measures, such as checking the passengers’ temperature before letting them on board, offering personal protection kits to passengers, and spraying down the interiors of buses with disinfectant after trips.
>>Outdoorsy, a listing service for renting recreational vehicles, has revealed it has received a $3 million extension to last year’s $50 million Series C round. The company has raised $88 million to date.
In 2020, the startup also structured and closed a $15 million credit facility with PacWest Bank, but it hasn’t drawn on the facility.
“We are currently seeing roughly a booking per minute,” said Jen Young, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Outdoorsy, told Skift, as RV and outdoor recreation becomes a category that’s booming in the U.S. and Europe this year.
>>QuaQua, a travel service offering virtual experiences, has secured a funding of $1 million.
Anthill Ventures and other existing investors participated.
The Hyderabad-based company makes use of 360-degree virtual reality-enabled travel content and immersive storytelling about many tourist landmarks and attractions in India. The business, founded in 2016, says its destination videos have been watched more than 20 million times.
>>TripAdmit, a maker of a ticketing solution for tours-and-activities operators and resellers, has raised about $340,000 (€300,000) in seed funding.
Thomas Jones led the round.
The company, founded in Ireland a year ago, lets tour and activity providers sell online via their site and distribution partners. It also lets travel sellers tap into tours inventory for upselling.
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.
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Photo Credit: LaGuardia Airport in New York City at sunset. JumpStory
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