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Each week we round up travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. Please email Senior Travel Tech Editor Sean O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have funding news.
This week, travel startups announced more than $85 million in funding and financing.
>>RocketRez a Canadian provider of management software for tours and attractions, raised $5 million ($6.3 Canadian) in Series A funding.
Blueprint Equity led the round.
The Winnipeg-based startup also received about $1.5 million ($2 million Canadian) in revenue-based financing from TIMIA Capital.
RocketRez said it had more than doubled its “recurring revenue growth,” year-over-year, despite the pandemic.
Founded in 2012, the startup has integrated online, in-person, and call center booking engines into one sale inventory management system. It has also built tools for managing events, private charters, catering, photos, kiosks, customer relationship management, growth marketing, business analytics, and staff scheduling.
RocketRez clients include Marineland in Florida, Fossil Rim Wildlife Centre in Texas, and Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours in Niagara, Ontario, said John Pendergast, founder and CEO.
>>Questo, a startup that “gamifies” travel, has raised $1.5 million in a fresh round of funding for its mobile-based, city exploration games.
Early Game Ventures led the round. The $1.5 million comes in addition to the about $400,000 (€300,000) in venture capital the startup received nine months ago in a round led by Sparking Capital.
Based in Bucharest, Questo offers tour-like adventure games in more than 100 cities across Europe and three other continents. Tourists and locals solve challenges and riddles based on their surroundings. Business partners have created half of the games.
The typical game is based on historical facts, local legends, and pop culture trivia and takes players to approximately a dozen spots over about two hours. Tourists or locals can play the games in the Questo iOS and Android apps and buy them from TripAdvisor, Expedia, GetYourGuide, Klook, and Musement.
“We like to think of it like Steam for real-world games, where our players are the main characters, and the local storytellers are the game developers, said Alex Govoreanu, co-founder and CEO of Questo. He was referring to Steam, a popular video game digital distribution service by Valve.
“The high in-app engagement, the global scalability, and the incredible traction even in times of the pandemic made the investment decision quite self-evident,” said Cristian Munteanu, managing partner at Early Game Ventures.
For more on the broader trend of augmented reality in travel, see Skift’s earlier story.
>>FantasticStay, a tech vendor in the alternative accommodations sector, has raised about $1.6 million (€1.3 million) in funding.
New Vision 3 led the investment.
Based in Sofia, Bulgaria, FantasticStay, created in 2018, provides property management and channel management.
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.