This week, seven travel startups collectively announced more than $75 million in funding. Names included Numa, which runs hotels and makes software for hotels, and Locomote, an Australian travel management company.
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 $75 million in funding.
>>TripActions bought Comtravo earlier this week as part of an ongoing consolidation of travel management startups. The companies didn’t disclose the deal terms.
The German startup Comtravo had been one of Skift’s Top Travel Startups to Watch 2019, and it had announced raising $43 million in funding over the years.
Escala Partners, a wealth management company, invested through its direct investment group.
Locomote, based in Australia, plans to tap Escala’s address book, which includes ultra-high net worth individuals, to make introductions to future customers.
“Really, it came down to [Escala’s] network,” said Ross Facusta, co-founder of Locomote, in an interview. “Their network is huge.”
It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.
“Escala Partners selected Locomote because of Locomote’s entrepreneurial alignment with our client base — many of whom are, themselves, successful entrepreneurs,” said George Nassios, Escala’s chief product officer.
Locomote is an online booking tool that companies use to book travel and handle approvals, duty of care, reporting, advice, and ticket changes. —
The startup broke from travel technology firm Travelport about a year ago. Now it’s targeting large corporate customers.
Locomote said it had signed $71 million of travel volume (pre-covid levels) in the past eight months. It aims to reach $355 million in travel volume sold within three years.
It has recruited Nick Sutherland, who formerly ran the business travel division for Helloworld. Sutherland said Locomote’s platform, with its workflow and booking approval processes, could appeal to public sector clients.
>>Numa, which runs hotels and makes software for hotels, has raised $45 million in “growth capital.”
DN Capital and Headline led the round. Soravia, Cherry Ventures, Scope Hanson, and Kreos Capital also participated.
The Berlin-based startup has previously raised about $28.5 million in venture capital.
Numa is similar to U.S.-based startups Sonder, Life House, and Mint House — and to Germany-based Limehome. Numa borrows properties owned by investors, developers, and hotel operators, and then it runs more than 2,500 units in European cities using its technology.
Numa claims that automating processes such as check-in can reduce labor costs and boost profits by up to 40 percent for hotel operators. For example, it strives for a fully digital guest experience and a cut in labor costs.
For its properties, it claimed it had a booking occupancy averaging 85 percent in the past year with an average revenue per available room (a common hotel performance metric) of $98 (€86).
“Demand is clearly shifting from traditional hotel offerings to Numa’s product category,” said Christian Miele, partner at Headline and president of the German Startups Association. “Numa is very capital-efficient in developing a new, disruptive hotel category.”
Properties include Sketch, a hotel in the hip Friedrichshain district of Berlin near popular techno venues. The hotel has custom graffiti and preserved industrial decor.
>>Wander, a short-term rental network for prosperous digital nomads, has closed a $20 million Series A round.
QED Investors led the round. Redpoint Ventures, a16z, and many other investors also invested. The startup previously raised a $7 million seed round.
Wander offers luxury homes in memorable U.S. locations, such as Joshua Tree, California. The startup loads the houses with technology for plug-and-play usage.
For instance, it guarantees each house will have at least a one gigabyte Wi-Fi connection. They also promise complimentary use of Teslas, Forbes reported. The company welcomed its first guests in November.
“By owning the entire end-to-end customer experience — from the homes to the booking to the smart home technology –– we can iterate towards perfection,” wrote co-founder and CEO John Andrew Entwistle in a blog post.
>>Acamp, a travel tech business focused on the camping and outdoor sector, has closed a seed round of $2.8 million (€2.5 million).
Spintop Ventures led the round, EU Startups reported. LRF Ventures also took part, as did past investor Centripetal Capital.
The Stockholm-based company lets campers research, book, and pay for campsite access in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. It also makes it easier for owners of space, such as farmers or vintners, to become hosts of vacationers.
>>AI Travel, a Tokyo-based startup focused on business travel management, has raised $2.6 million in bridge financing.
The company uses artificial intelligence to help streamline how businesses book trips. It was founded about six years ago by CEO and chief product officer Yusuke Murata, a former engineer at Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten.
>>Sēkr, another outdoor travel search site, closed a $2.25 million seed round of funding.
Storyteller Overland led the round. Backstage Capital, Techstars, Ad Astra Ventures, Crescent Ridge Ventures, and other angel investors pitched in, too.
The San Diego-based business lists more than 50,000 campgrounds and overnight outdoor options in a map-based interface. Consumers can use Sekr to search reviews, photos, and listed amenities. The brand has about 200 properties bookable via its app, TechCrunch reported.
Co-founded by CEO Breanne Acio and chief operating officer Jess Shisler, the company said it had 100,000 “weekly active community members.”
The startup is also supporting the campaign Project Respect Outdoors, which strives to make the outdoor sector more inclusive for women and underrepresented minorities.
>>Voyaah, a Bengaluru-based luxury travel startup, has raised $500,000 in investment.
Angel investor Shashidhar Sinha, the principal CEO of IPG Mediabrands, India, led the round.
Voyaah is a travel agency focused on luxurious and experiential travel for vacationers and business retreats, CEO Sharmistha Chakraborty told VC Circle. The startup has served more than 15,000 travelers already, she said.
|Numa||Growth capital||DN Capital and Headline||$45m|
|Wander||Series A||QED Investors||$20m|
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: Sketch, a set of rooms and apartments for transient travel rental, is in the district of Friedrichshain, in Berlin, Germany. Source: Numa.