The latest batch of travel startups to raise funding has focused on themes of corporate travel, integrating mobility services like airport transfers into travel apps, giving hotels guest engagement tools, aggregating destination experiences, and providing technology for managing short-term rentals.
This week, travel startups announced more than $160 million in funding.
>>TripActions, which helps companies manage their business travel, has received $125 million in a convertible debt financing round. Greenoaks Capital led the financing, with Vista Credit Partners participating.
TripActions, founded in 2015 and based in Palo Alto, California, raised a $250 million venture equity Series D round in June 2019, led by Andreessen Horowitz.
“Over the last three months, we’ve seen enormous growth, as enterprises switch to modern T&E [travel and expense] management with TripActions, including three new large enterprise customers,” said Ariel Cohen, co-founder and CEO. “We added $450 million in travel budget under management to bring our total to more than $2.8 billion despite Covid-19.”
The company is looking to expand in Europe in particular and expand its payments technology offering.
>>Splyt, which helps integrate mobility apps into travel platforms and superapps, has closed a $19.5 million Series B investment round to support its expansion.
SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate, led the investment and took a signiﬁcant share in the startup. American Express Ventures, the investment arm of American Express, participated in the round.
Splyt, a London-based company, helps with app integrations, such as adding ride-hailing services to the mobile apps of Alipay, Grab, and Booking.com. For instance, it can make airport transfers in more than 150 countries more easily bookable as a white-labeled portion of another brand’s app.
“Splyt’s technology helps mobility app companies improve the ride-booking process, making it easier for customers regardless of their location,” said Julia Huang, managing director at American Express Ventures. “Their technology is highly applicable to other sectors with the same need for a simplified experience.”
>>Akia, a provider of guest engagement tools for hotels, has raised $1 million in funding.
GSR Ventures led the round in the Menlo Park, California-based startup, which, after this round, has raised $1.235 million to date.
Akia, founded in 2018 by a team of ex-Facebook engineers, lets hotels provide guests with contactless options, such as pre-arrival check-in, and to communicate with staff via text messaging.
“Akia has been absolutely critical for our reopening,” said Ben Gray, general manager of Bellmoor Inn and Spa in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, which has adopted the contactless technology to support social distancing.
>>Simplenight, a business-to-business travel tech company, has raised a Series A funding round of an undisclosed amount.
Florida Funders, a hybrid venture capital fund and crowd-investing platform, invested. The latest round of financing brings Simplenight’s total fundraising to date to more than $11 million.
Simplenight offers cloud-based distribution, inventory management, merchandising, and technology tools for the travel sector, helping make more easily bookable tours, activities, dining, shows, and other experiences. It aims to provide a one-stop-shopping experience for users to discover everything a city has to offer.
>>Bob W, which offers short-term rental apartments with hotel-style amenities, has raised about $4.5 million (€4 million) in a seed funding round.
Founders VC led the round. NREP and Kaamos also participated.
The startup plans to expand beyond providing 1,000 units rented by the night, week, or month in Finland and Estonia to other markets. It also intends to build a full-stack hospitality tech platform.
>>Koala, a vacation rental service for owners of timeshares, has raised $3.4 million in seed funding.
Investors Ira Lubert and Dean Adler led the round.
Koala is building software to let timeshare property owners, renters, and resorts communicate and carry out transactions seamlessly.
>>Jurny, a hospitality tech company, revealed it closed a $2.75 million fundraising earlier this year.
Okapi Venture Capital and Mucker Capital led the round.
Jurny, created in Los Angeles, offers a management solution to power an automated system for guests and property owners. Its tools for boutique hotels and multi-family building owners aim to convert rooms and units into fully furnished, completely automated, branded suites without requiring a master lease. The company provides smart home technology to handle check-in to check-out, for example.
Guests can book and manage their entire stay through the Jurny App, with keyless entry, temperature control, Wi-Fi connection, and on-demand cleaning services. The company serves nearly 1,500 customers a month across five U.S. markets. It charges property managers a performance-based fee for its services.
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: TripActions co-founder and CEO Ariel Cohen, left, with co-founder and chief technology officer Ilan Twig. TripActions