H2O Hospitality is a Korean startup that gained traction in Japan and now plans to offer its hotel and vacation rental management services in other markets. If you can make it in Osaka, you can make it anywhere.
Travel Startup Funding This Week
Each week we round up travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. Please email Senior Travel Tech Editor Tim Mullaney at [email protected] if you have funding news.
This week, travel startups announced more than $46 million in funding.
>>H2O Hospitality, a company that manages travel accommodation on behalf of owners, has raised approximately $30 million (about 34 billion Korean won) in a Series C round.
Kakao Investment and the state-run Korea Development Bank led the round. Other investors include Gorilla PE, Intervest, NICE Investment, and the Kejora-Intervest Growth Fund.
The startup confirmed it had raised “more than $45 million” since its founding in 2015.
H2O, based in Seoul, South Korea, offers its property management service usually on a white-label basis. It presently runs about 7,500 accommodations in Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Busan, and Bangkok. But it has bigger dreams. Earlier this year, it acquired the contactless hotel solution company ImGate and a local startup serving the creator economy called Replace.
The company claims it can slash fixed costs while boosting sales with its software and processes. For a profile of the company, see Skift’s article: Why Japan’s Vacation Rentals Are Hiring Tech-Savvy Management Companies.
>>Headout, a service offering same-day bookings for tours and activities in whatever location a traveler is when using the mobile app, has raised $12 million.
Glade Brook Capital led the round. Version One Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, FJ Labs, 500 Startups, Haystack, Ludlow Ventures, Espresso Capital, and Practical VC also participated.
The startup has claimed to offer Uber-like convenience with HotelTonight-esque discounted pricing and fast booking, meaning that it promises “exclusive” last-minute discounts and faster mobile checkout than other channels. Varun Khona is co-founder and CEO, and a 30-year-old digital nomad and building Headout while traveling the world. The company is based in New York but has its largest office in Bangalore.
>>Tickitto, a business-to-business marketplace for ticketed events and experiences, closed a $4.5 million seed round.
Vorwerk Ventures led the round. TriplePoint, SeedCamp, and angel investors also participated.
While not strictly a travel startup, the company may interest travel brands and online resellers. Tickitto tackles the challenge of sourcing ticketed events by using similar principles to those that have revolutionized consumer banking. In short, it claims to make it much easier for a brand to add ticket sales for external events to their sites and apps.
One travel sector company using Tickitto is Servantrip, a business-to-business consolidator in the tourism sector. Servantrip offers tickets and events via Tickitto’s API [application programming interface, or essentially a data exchange method] to add to its inventory from other sources. Partners can then resell the inventory.
CEO Dana Lattouf founded the company. She was formerly a technology consulting analyst at Accenture.
>>Traveloka, the Indonesia-based online travel agency startup, killed talks on a potential $400 million deal with a blank check company backed by the billionaire founder of PayPal Peter Thiel. The agency also invested in the Series B funding round of Sirclo, a software and consulting firm based in Jakarta that enables small business owners to conveniently open and manage multiple online shops, according to DealStreetAsia.
|H2O Hospitality||Series C||Kakao, Korea Development Bank||$30,000,000|
|Headout||n/a||Glade Brook Capital||$12,000,000|
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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Photo credit: A guest room at a high-end resort in Jeongseon, South Korea, that has adopted H2O Hospitality’s software. H2O Hospitality