Investors have recently bet on a few long-term trends: outdoor recreation, smoother business travel, better digital identity management by the travel sector, and next-gen tour operators.
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 $36 million in funding.
>>Loge, a hospitality company whose motel-like lodgings are tied to an outdoors and adventure sports theme, raised $15 million in Series A funding.
Round House, Brighton Jones Investment Partners, Colfam, and others took part in the round. The company had raised a $4.5 million seed round in 2018.
Loge offers places to stay in a handful of spots in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, and it targets surfers, mountain bikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts with lodging and rental equipment. For more context on the broader trend, see “RV and Outdoor Recreation Companies See a Boom in Bookings.”
>>Z-Trip, a travel management company based in Shanghai, said it has raised a Series A round of financing led by DCM Ventures. It also has received a Series A extension led by entrepreneur Zhang Tao. The company didn’t disclose the combined round’s value but said it was more than $14 million.
Less than about a tenth of Chinese companies hire travel management companies. But Z-Trip is part of a wave of companies looking to create the market. The startup, founded in 2015, said it has more than 800 large and medium-sized companies as clients, including Fosun Group, a conglomerate with tourism interests.
Z-Trip offers cloud-based services for booking and managing travel reservations and group travel for events. It also helps manage billing, settlement, and expense tracking.
>>Okarito, a business travel company based in France, closed a seed round of funding of $2.4 million (€2.1 million) in recent months.
Axeleo Capital led the round, with Kima Ventures and angel investors taking part, too.
Okarito, founded in 2018, helps small-and-medium-sized companies manage their business trips and ensure duty-of-care. Customers can book travel and track their itineraries through its cloud-based service. It has 200 clients in Europe.
>>Travizory, a startup focusing on digital identity management in the travel sector, raised approximately $2.3 million (€2 million) in funding.
Atlantic Labs led the round.
The startup, based in Neuchatel, Switzerland, is building advanced passenger information and passenger name record software to help governments, airports, airlines, hotels, and others manage personally identifiable information about international travelers while staying in compliance with regulations.
A potential need for some travel sector stakeholders to track the coronavirus test results of travelers has given an added impetus to sales interest, said CEO Renaud Irminger.
>>Explora Project, a tour operator and travel agency focused on the adventure tourism sector, has raised $2 million (€1.7 million) in seed funding.
Kima Ventures and Crédit Agricole Alpes Development participated in the investment. The startup has been part of the 50 Partners accelerator this year.
The company, based in Annecy, France, organizes guided trips in Europe and selects transportation and food options with low-carbon impact. The startup said it had taken almost 500 participants on 80 expeditions in 12 countries so far.
>>The Trip Boutique, a company offering custom-made city trips, has raised an undisclosed external financing round backed by a number of angel investors from the travel and tourism industry.
Founded in 2017, the Zurich-based company aims to use artificial intelligence along with human expertise to help select the lodging and activities to fit a leisure traveler’s interest, said CEO and co-founder Fernanda Barrence.
The Trip Boutique was recognized in 2019 by the Hospitality Technology Forum Switzerland as the “Most Promising Swiss Startup” and by World Tourism Forum Lucerne as the “Most Innovative Travel Startup.”
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.
Photo credit: One of Loge's lodge-like property near Mt Shasta. The hospitality startup has raised $15 million in fresh funding. Loge