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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 email@example.com if you have funding news.
This week, travel startups announced more than $21 million in funding.
Jiangsu Wenfeng Group led the round of strategic investment.
Founded in November 2015 in Shenzhen, the startup creates high-end boutique lodges under a couple of brands in China’s ancient cities and towns and villages. Its average room rate at the premium bed-and-breakfasts is about $300 a night (2,000 yuan a night).
>>Launchtrip, a group travel booking service, closed a seed investment round of $3.8 million ($4.7 million Canadian).
Axis Capital Ventures participated along with angel investors.
Based in Vancouver, Launchtrip plans to do a public launch of its app in the summer. The app lets groups can find lodging, book restaurants, and split the budget. By the end of the year, it intends to offer scaling group travel discounts online and a loyalty rewards program.
The startup, founded in 2018, is led by founder and CEO Julian Ing, a serial entrepreneur.
Earlier this month, another startup focused on group travel bookings, albeit in the vacation rental sector, announced expansion. See our earlier story on AvantStay: Hospitality Companies Follow Pandemic Demand by Offering Villa Rentals.
>>Tripscout, a Chicago-based travel recommendation app, raised $2.3 million in additional seed funding.
Corazon Capital led the round. Past investors Accomplice, New Stack Ventures, MATH Ventures, and M25 also took part. The startup has raised $4.6 million to date.
The company claims to have more than 1 million users of its app and a 1,000 percent year-over-year increase in active user growth, despite the pandemic.
Here’s how it works. A consumer downloads the mobile app and signs up for a free account. They then describe the timing, budget, and type of travel companions for an upcoming vacation.
Tripscout uses artificial intelligence to analyze millions of articles, videos, and recommendations from local experts via online sources to provide a personalized feed of content and recommendations. A consumer can then save points of interest to a digital map and itinerary.
Millennials dream and plan trips all the time even when they’re not traveling, which presents an opportunity for more frequent engagement.
“Yet because the industry incumbents have been so singularly obsessed with transactions, they’ve ignored this deep relationship we have with why and how we travel,” said Konrad Waliszewski, co-founder and CEO of Tripscout.
The startup has grown its team by several members to 13 in recent months.
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.