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Travel booking app Omio said Wednesday it had raised $100 million (€83.7 million) in convertible debt from existing and new investors, such as Temasek, Kinnevik, Goldman Sachs, NEA, and Kleiner Perkins.
The Berlin-based company, which offers consumers multi-modal search for flights, trains, buses, ferries, car rentals, and other transportation, had previously raised $296 million in venture equity.
“We are very impressed how fast and effective Omio adapted to such an unprecedented crisis for the global travel industry,” said Georgi Ganev, CEO of Kinnevik. “The management team has delivered quickly, and we can see the robustness of the business model, which is well-diversified across markets and transport modes.”
Omio said it was considering using some of the money to acquire other businesses. The company has a record of growing through acquisitions. Omio acquired Australian-based rival Rome2Rio last October. Analysts expected it to target companies that could help it expand in the Americas and Southeast Asia.
Another target could be tech companies that might enable Omio to better sort booking options by minimal carbon consumption. Many European consumers express interest in such options.
When it comes to rail, Omio has had to build commercial agreements and technical integrations from the ground up since its founding in 2013 because, unlike in air travel, rail offers no comprehensive bookings databases to plug into, despite attempts by Expedia Group’s Silverail, Sqills, and Amadeus.
Omio said it works today with about 800 transport operators across Europe and the North American market, which it entered earlier this year. But connecting with railway systems isn’t always seamless. Omio said Germany’s Deutsche Bahn failed to pass along information about the occupancy levels of its trains which were capacity-limited to ensure social distancing. That lack of information led to confusion for rail bookers on Omio’s app.
Like other travel resellers, Omio had to furlough most of its 350 workers during the peak of the pandemic in Europe earlier this year. But it said it intends to bring most of the staff back full-time, as bookings have recovered faster than expected.
“We are already above 50 percent of our pre-Covid-19 bookings despite marginal marketing spend,” said Naren Shaam, founder and CEO, referring to his company’s biggest markets of Germany and France. Before the crisis, the company said it attracted an average of 27 million users per month to its search platform. The company said that some travelers booking rail have switched to using Omio as an app-based tool to avoid the kiosks and counters at train stations.
Additional reporting by Dennis Schaal. Skift Pro subscribers can read Dennis’s analysis of this deal and other online travel news in his weekly briefing.