Skift Take

This week, nine travel startups announced more than $100 million in funding altogether. The Guild and Mint House raked in some of that money for blending short-term rentals with hotel-like stays, while Eola and Redeam bet on experiences sector tech. Plus, more news.

Series: Startups This Week

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 $100 million in funding.

>>Xiezhu (携住科技), a hotel technology vendor in Suzhou, China, has raised about $46 million (300 million renminbi).

Addor Capital led the round. Qingdao Haikong Tiancheng Fund and SR Capital also participated.

Founded in 2015, the company offers technology used at many hotels, such as its U Check self-check-in kiosks and apps for guests. The startup is increasingly branching out to provide software and internet-of-things hardware for facilities for the elderly and corporate offices, too.

>>The Guild, an Austin-based startup that runs about 800 apartments as hotel-style short-term rentals in U.S. cities, said it had raised $17.1 million in equity and securities options from 91 investors, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The investment includes converting debt to equity and issuing shares and a warrant, the filing said.

The Guild’s units typically have apartment-style layouts and kitchens with other hotel-like amenities such as keyless locks on entry doors. Co-founders Brian Carrico and Chris Herndon started the company in 2016, and the startup raised $20 million a year ago.

>>Mint House, a hotel startup, raised an undisclosed round of funding, with Allegion Ventures participating.

Mint House disclosed raising $15 million in May 2019.

In January 2017, CEO Will Lucas founded Mint House in New York City to marry “the short-term rental experience with the reliability of a hotel.” It aims to expand properties to 50 cities worldwide by 2025.

Skift’s Matthew Parsons was first to report that Mint House would start a subscription-based service for business travelers.

>>Redeam, a technology provider to the tours and experiences sector, has closed a $12 million Series B fundraising.

yas island abu dhabi

Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, offers many tours and attractions that use the technology of Redeam, a startup that has just closed a funding round in March 2021. Source: Abu Dhabi Tourism.

Based in Broomfield, Colorado, Redeam gives tours and activities operators tools to distribute their content via online resellers and tools for touchless voucher redemption and reconciliation.

Vertical Venture Partners and Thayer Ventures led the round. Past investors Peninsula Ventures and Cobre Capital also participated, and new investor Boulder Ventures took part, too.

“The Redeam of 2021 is a completely different company than even two years ago,” said CEO Melanie Meador, in a statement. “Our products have evolved towards complete digitized and touchless solutions for the industry, white-label solutions for hotels, airlines, and other travel products, and our workforce has not only proven its expertise in the space but also now exceeds diversity standards.”

>>Apaleo, a software provider to hospitality companies, has closed a Series A round of funding worth about $5.25 million (€4.5 million).

Force Over Mass led the investment round. Redalpine and Bayern Kapital also took part.

“We have been impressed by Apaleo’s flexible, unified API [application programming interface]-based platform, which has enjoyed strong demand despite widespread industry disruption,” said Lucas Stoops, investment manager at Force Over Mass.

Despite the pandemic’s harm to the travel industry, Apaleo grew its client base “significantly,” the startup said.

The Munich-based Apaleo offers a cloud-based platform via a software-as-a-service subscription model. Accommodation providers can use the platform to build and run a property’s various third-party technology.

“Apaleo is exactly what hotel groups, hotels, and other accommodation providers have been demanding for on the technology side for a long time,” claimed Uli Pillau, co-founder and CEO of the startup. “It’s the true platform approach where any hotelier can select their preferred technology as needed and without boundaries, and where any app out there can connect quickly and at no cost.”

>>Eola, the operating system for experience and activity providers, has closed a $2.8 million funding round.

Pentech Ventures led the round. Techstars and a number of angel investors also took part.

London-based Eola equips tour operators with software tools to manage their businesses.

“The Eola team has crafted an incredible platform which really is an operating system for running experience businesses,” said Sandy McKinnon, partner at Pentech Ventures. “To have grown a company during the lockdown in this market is incredible and speaks to the value they deliver to their customers.”

>>ZeroAvia, a hydrogen plane startup, has closed a $24.3 million funding round.

British Airways invested in the round, which was led by Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures. The investment brings the company’s private backing to more than $53 million.

>>Off Map, a Chicago-based glamping startup, has raised an undisclosed round of angel funding.

The company has bought about 75 acres in South Haven, Michigan, which is about a two-hour drive from Chicago and a three-hour drive from Detroit. It will offer glamping, or fully-featured tents with camping gear, at rates from $200 a night starting in July.

The company is similar to Getaway, which has cabins for rent nationwide, and announced funding in February.

>>Honey Guide, a luxury travel agency startup in Shijiazhuang, China, raised $3 million in Series A funding.

Founded last year, the company offers a membership service, helps aggregate trips, and provides digitally assisted sales for travel suppliers. It claims to have served 20,000 high-net-worth Chinese travelers to date.

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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Tags: funding, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: The view from The Guild Downtown, apartment lodging for travelers available on Elm Street in Dallas. The Guild

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