Skift Take

This week, Nigeria's Plentywaka, India's Oyo, and South Korea's GuideLive announced more than $7 million in funding collectively.

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 $7 million in funding.

>>Oyo, a hospitality startup based in India, has received a $5 million investment from Microsoft. See Skift’s story.

>>Ramp, a New York-based startup, has raised $300 million in funding as it looks to bring a new way of managing expenses. See Skift’s story.

>>Plentywaka, a service for booking buses, cars, or vans with reliable schedules and safe, affordable vehicles, has raised a $1.2 million seed round.

The Xchange led the round, as TechCrunch first reported. Argentil Capital Partners, ODBA & Co Ventures, SOSV, and Shock Ventures took part, too. The startup is a recent graduate of the Techstars Toronto startup accelerator, which also made a small investment.

Plentywaka, founded in Lagos and led by CEO Onyeka Akumah, provides intercity travel across 21 cities in Nigeria and is not unlike a blend of BlaBlaCar and Swvl. It has arranged more than 500,000 rides since its founding in 2019. The startup recently acquired a similar company in Ghana called Stabus. Plentywaka plans to expand to more countries.

>>GuideLive, a South Korea-based service for finding travel tour guides, has raised approximately $860,000 (1 billion won) in “pre-Series-A” investment, Platum reported.

KB Investment led the round. The startup was named the “best venture-backed tourism company” last year by the Korea Tourism Organization and has been praised by Korea’s Startup Promotion Agency.

GuideLive, launched in 2019, produces higher-end tours by vetting guides by region and professional docents by field as well as local creators, entrepreneurs, and experts, not unlike a blend of Context Travel and Tourlane. The company picks guides in a form similar to an entertainment agency hiring actors.

My Real Trip, a startup and “travel superapp” that’s a marketplace for finding experiences run by locals, made small investments in the startup twice in 2019 and 2020. My Real Trip has raised more than $36 million last year, according to the Korean Economic Daily.

PlentywakaSeedThe Xchange$1,200,000
RampSeries CAltimeter Capital$300,000,000
GuideLiveSeedKB Investment$860,000

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: Staff from mobility startup Plentywaka, a Nigeria-based company, with staff with new startup acquisition Stabus, based in Ghana. Plentywaka

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