Skift Take

A fresh batch of travel startups has raised funding for concepts that include next-generation tour packages, vacation rentals at architectural gems, live streaming as a travel sales tool, and video-based travel agents.

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 $26 million in funding.

>>Reiwa Travel, a Tokyo-based digital-first travel agency, has secured $20.3 million (2.25 billion yen) in seed funding.

JAFCO Group and ANRI led the round. Global Brain, Chiba Dojo Fund, Akatsuki, and a half-dozen angel investors also participated.

Founded in April, the agency is licensed to sell overseas travel and will aggregate inventory from wholesalers and package it up for sale via smartphones. The company’s founder Takaya Shinozuka previously co-founded the accommodation booking site “Relux” in 2013, and sold it to KDDI in 2017.

Reiwa is a bit coy about its business model, reports The Bridge. But the startup wants to target the overseas tour package market purchased via smartphone. It aims to challenge legacy agencies such as JTB and HIS. But at its start, the brand will temporarily use messaging app Line’s airline and hotel content.

>>Stayfolio, a travel startup based in South Korea that’s somewhat similar to MrandMrsSmith and Accor’s luxury home rental brand Onefinestay, has closed a $4.5 million (6 billion won) Series A round of investment.

Korean venture capital firms TBT Partners and Quad Asset Management led the round.

The company promises a fresh take to the traditional booking model for hotels and other accommodation, focusing on luxury accommodations that are difficult to find elsewhere online. The company, founded in 2015, plans to grow globally by contracting inventory worldwide, priced at an average of $320 to $440 a night. It has processed 200,000 bookings to date.

“We feel that, like us, there are boutique architecture firms and property owners abroad designing and maintaining one-of-kind spaces but are not receiving the type of spotlight they’d like,” said Stayfolio CEO and co-founder Benny Lee. “We’re looking to appeal to these users as a way to really get their story and unique appeal across.”

Stayfolio was directly involved in the conceptualization and design of over 50 accommodations out of 200 in its marketplace. Its team does in-person vetting of potential properties and to take high-quality photos.

>>Qinker, a China-based provider of livestream application services, has secured Series A funding from Frees Fund. The company, also known as Kunke Network Technology, didn’t disclose the amount other than to say it was more than $1.5 million, KrAsia reported.

Livestreaming has generated hundreds of millions of dollars worth of travel sales during the pandemic so far.

>>Casai, a Mexico-based startup in the tech hospitality sector, arrived in Brazil in May 2021 with 100 units in São Paulo.

This week it announced a real estate fund with investment firm Navi and XP Investimentos. The fund will be focused on short-stay rentals. Navi has more than $1.7 billion of capital under management but the fund will be only a slice of that. The fund will support entrepreneurs in the sector via credit for the construction and acquisition of their properties.

>>Tripedeo, a video-based travel advice and booking platform based in Hamburg, will launch in September. The company has raised an undisclosed seed round.

The company promises to enable travel agencies to communicate with customers via Zoom-style video chat, letting travel shoppers pick the appropriate specialist from these profiles using a search and filter system.

>>goSTOPS, a hostel brand, has raised $1 million in a seed round led by Indian Angel Network (IAN) and Yuj Ventures.

It runs properties in 20 destinations in India and says it has hosted more than 500,000 guests since its founding in 2014.

Reiwa TravelSeedJAFCO Group, ANRI$20,300,000
StayfolioSeries ATBT Partners, Quad Asset Management$4,500,000
goSTOPSn/aIndian Angel Network, Yuj Ventures$1,000,000

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 Akihabara district of Tokyo is famous for its electronics shops. Tokyo Convention Visitors Bureau

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