If the pandemic fades in being disruptive, expect the experiences sector to draw a lot of investor interest.
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 $30 million in funding.
Glade Brook Capital led both the latest and previous financings in this Series B.
“With all of the previous raise still in our bank and our consistently profitable economics, we have all the firepower we need,” said Varun Khona, co-founder and CEO of the New York City-based startup, in a statement.
Khona said the company — which lets consumers book last-minute activities in many major cities — turned profitable in July 2021 on an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization basis.
It delivered more than “800 percent growth” in 2021, and most of its reservations for in-destination activities have been for the same day, the company said.
Since its founding in 2015, it has primarily sold other companies’ products. But during the past year or so, it has offered some tours and activities under its own brand.
Headout, which has about 50 employees, resells content in many ways, such as via the Google Trips mobile app and through partnerships with demand aggregators such as the Wall Street Journal.
>>Captain, a platform for booking outdoor travel experiences, has raised $2 million in a seed round.
Looking Glass Capital led the round, with participation from Andrew Chen at a16z (Andreessen Horowitz), Goodwater Capital, Not Boring Capital (Packy McCormick), Correlation Ventures, Psion Capital, Capital Factory, WSGR, Oliver Hudson, and others.
The Austin-based company has begun by digitizing the process for booking fishing charters. It has also been publishing guides to help travelers plan their experiences. It sees itself as applying the Airbnb model to outdoor trips, according to Austin Inno.
Aquila Capital Partners led the round.
While this tech provider isn’t a travel startup per see, it’s of note because JetBlue Technology Ventures participated in the round. JetBlue’s corporate venture capital arm explained its investment in this blog post.
>>Beyonk, an all-in-one event ticketing system for tours and activities operators, has raised $3.4 million in pre-Series A financing in the past year.
Fuel Ventures is the largest backer, TechTimes reported.
Attractions operators, experience providers, and festival organizers use the startup’s tools to max out online bookings, automate administrative tasks, and manage their third-party channels. Third-party resellers use Beyonk to access content and supply.
According to Fuel Ventures, Beyonk was profitable at the time of its investment. The startup has grown more than 180 percent month on month recently, thanks to thousands of monthly customers.
|Headout||Series B||Glade Brook Capital||$40m (total)|
|Captain||Seed||Looking Glass Capital||$2m|
|NLX||Seed||Aquila Capital Partners||$5m|
|Beyonk||Series A||Fuel Ventures||$3.4m|
Skift Cheat Sheet
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 traveler pets an animal in Iceland during a tour experience, one of several tours and activities that can be booked on short notice from Headout, an agency for experiences. Source: Headout