Travel startups collectively announced more than $100 million in funding at the turn-of-the-year and during the past week. Htrip, a Chinese hotel tech provider, led the pack.
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.
Travel startups announced more than $100 million in funding recently.
>>Hipcamp, a startup that pairs people who wish to pitch their tents with landowners who want to accommodate them, has finalized $57 million Series C funding round, The Information reported on Thursday.
>>Htrip, a provider of operational and analytics tools to hotels, has had another extension to its Series A funding. Skift reported on the first portions. The Guangzhou-based company has now raised a total of $25 million in the Series A round.
Investors included Shenzhen Capital Group and Guangdong Jianrong Accommodation Rental Service.
Htrip provides Chinese hotels with operations software, such as revenue management systems and on-demand video and smart TVs for guest rooms. Htrip said it had signed deals for its systems to be in use at about 1.53 million rooms and that 42 hotel groups out of China’s top 100 largest hotel groups have signed up as of December.
>>Lumous, which helps hotels use “Big data” to provide business intelligence on how to more precisely spend marketing dollars and ensure operational efficiency, has raised an undisclosed Series B round of financing.
CPE (Citic Private Equity) led the round. Yunshi Capital and angel investors also took part.
Lumous, a Shanghai-based company, said that seven out of ten of China’s national hotel brands by property count, including Jinjiang, Home Inn, and Kaiyuan, use its services.
During the pandemic, the company rolled out a contactless, self-service machine to have guests take their temperature at the front desk.
>>Inhabit IQ, which offers software tools to vacation rental managers as well as to the commercial and residential sectors, said it had received “a significant investment” from the Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division. Goldman Sachs joins existing investors Insight Partners, Greater Sum Ventures, and PSG.
The Knoxville, Tennessee-based company offers property managers tools such as a customer relationship management system, a channel manager, a direct-booking website, and payments management systems.
>>Pana, a business travel startup, has raised $3.6 million in funding, said CEO Devon Tivona. The round was led by Jules Schwerin at RTP Global and Matt Ziskie and Dave Ambrose at Bungalow. Notably, before this, Ziskie was head of worldwide sales at Airbnb for Work and he previously ran corporate travel at Airbnb.
In 2019, Pana, based in Denver, raised a $10 million Series A, led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from Techstars, Matchstick Ventures, and MergeLane Fund.
In the past six years, Pana has built travel management tools for hundreds of companies and has partnered with travel management companies. It plans on launching “a major new product” in early 2021.
>>RestHour Technology, a developer of software to help hotel guests bypass the front desk, secured $1.52 million (10 million yuan) in Series A extension funding.
Koala Fund led the venture investment. Past investor Bojiang Capital also took part.
The startup, based in Hangzhou, China, offers self-service kiosks that identify and check-in guests and issue keys that work with its electronic door locks. The company will use the funding to develop products, online products, advertising, and hiring.
>>Drone Interactive, which builds drones for amusement parks, has raised a seed funding round of $1.2 million (€1 million) from Incit’Financement and angel investors.
Based in Grenoble, France, the company builds multiplayer attractions where real drones interact with the real and virtual worlds simultaneously, thanks to augmented reality.
>>Navisteps, a businesss travel startup, has raised $1 million in pre-seed funding from angel investors.
The Singapore-based company, led by founders Ken Tan and Charmaine Lim, aims to help companies manage travel and expenses.
The company said it had signed a deal with online travel company Traveloka that will give Navisteps’ enterprise users the agency’s inventory for flights and hotels at favorable prices.
>>Travala, an online travel agency that is based on blockchain, or distributed ledger, technology, recently raised $1.7 million (£1.25 million) in a crowd-funding campaign from 1,000 investors.
The parent company, based in the Cayman Islands, is friendly to travel purchases made with cryptocurrencies.
>>Otetsutabi, a travel company in Tokyo, has received an undisclosed amount of funding from Future Venture Capital. The startup has previously received seed funding from SEA Social Venture.
The startup, run by CEO Rina Nagaoka, is a matchmaking service that pairs travelers with communities where they can help work in local settings, somewhat similar to the concept of Woofing but also different.
Otetsutabi aims to boost the number of travelers who go to scenic areas in less-touristed parts of Japan. It offers the reward of free lodging and food in exchange for working part-time and getting to know locals.
>>Like a Local, the maker of a Korean travel question-and-answer service for tourists, has raised a seed round of funding.
The travel tech startup, based in Seoul, has developed an app used by more than 50,000 Chinese mainland visitors to Korea, providing information via a chat-style interface.
Last year, Like a Local rolled out a new app, Adaptko, a Korean-styled e-commerce platform targeted at expatriates.
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: A hotel room in China with an Htrip smart TV. Htrip