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 $297 million in funding.
A side note, first: Ritesh Agarwal, the founder and CEO of hospitality company Oyo, said this week he had co-founded an early-stage venture capital firm, Aroa Ventures. The firm, based in Singapore, will invest in a variety of startups, not just ones in travel and lifestyle.
Here are this week’s funding stories.
Traveloka, founded in 2012, has tended to keep details quiet about its financing, and it did not reveal who led this round, Reuters reported. But Nikkei cited media reports that Qatar Investment Authority led the round. The company has officially raised $750 million to date from investors including Hillhouse Capital, Sequoia Capital, Expedia Group, and JD.com. It’s one of the world’s 10 best-funded travel startups.
Traveloka is an online travel agency for customers in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam. But it has more recently gotten into providing other services, such as credit cards. As Skift’s Raini Hamdi reported last year, the company has faced turmoil in its leadership as it tries to navigate challenging industry dynamics.
>>MyRealTrip, an online travel agency based in Seoul, has raised $36 million (43.2 billion won) in a funding round. The company didn’t disclose the series preference for the round.
Altos Ventures led the investment. IMM Investment and Smilegate Investment also took part. So did Korea Development Bank, Axiom Asia Private Capital, Partech Partners, and Tekton Ventures.
The company has raised more than $68 million so far, the publication Korean Investors reported. More than 7 million people have planned trips through MyRealTrip, according to CEO Dong-gun Lee.
The startup has endured since its founding in 2012. Tough conditions in South Korea even before the pandemic started led to the closure of several South Korean travel agencies.
>>Arrive Outdoors, an outdoor gear rental company, has raised $4.7 million in seed funding.
Freestyle Capital led the round. Other investors include Science Inc., Corigin Ventures, Narrative Fund, and AVG Basecamp Fund.
The Santa Monica, California-based company lets travelers rent gear. It ships the gear, and consumers ship it back when done. Equipment includes hiking and backpacking apparel, camping tents, and skis. An example camping set for rent consists of a tent, two sleeping bags and pads, headlamps, a lantern, a cooler, a stove and pot, and a couple folding chairs.
Arrive Outdoors and its dozen-employees compete somewhat with services that offer outdoor “glamping” and include professional gear set-up.
During the pandemic, outdoor recreation companies have seen a boom in bookings, with rentals of recreational vehicles being a rare winner in 2020 travel.
DialCom24, Alfabeat, and other investors took part. The Polish company helps to manage travel for a corporation’s contractors.
>>Swoop, a software management tool for chauffeured group ground transportation services, has raised $3.2 million.
Signia Venture Partners, South Park Commons, and several angel investors participated.
The Los Angeles-based transportation booking startup has an online booking search tool for corporate travel managers and event planners. Its software also helps small local operators manage reservations, ride dispatch, vehicle tracking, customer communication, and payments.
>>Awake Travel, an online travel agency that helps with booking eco-friendly trips and experiences in Colombia, has raised a seed investment for $500,000 (U.S. dollars).
The Bancolombia Foundation and Fondo Acción led the round.
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.