This week, seven travel startups collectively announced raising more than $78 million in funding. as venture investors such as Thayer, Fuse, Wind Ventures, and Euroventures bet on the sector's long-term growth.
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 $78 million in funding.
>>Canary Technologies, which builds software to help hotels improve operations and profitability, has closed a $15 million Series A funding round.
F-Prime, which is affiliated with Fidelity Investments, led the round. Read this week’s Skift profile of F-Prime.
Y Combinator (an accelerator that helped to catapult companies such as Airbnb), Thayer Ventures (which has invested in many travel tech startups), Commerce Ventures, Acronym Capital, and others joined in the round.
Here’s the pitch: The company’s products are used by “thousands” of hotels to reduce or replace paper processes, boost revenue with upsells, raise staff efficiency, ensure compliance with privacy regulations, improve the guest experience, and reduce chargebacks and payment fraud.
The company’s first product was a digital authorizations solution, which Choice Hotels has made a brand standard for franchisees to use. Other customers include Standard Hotels and Ace Hotel Group.
The company has developed an array of other tools since. Its solutions have helped hotels “process more than 5 million reservations” since the startup’s founding a few years ago.
“Our thesis is that the technology stack in hospitality is antiquated mainly because of gaps left by a lot of antiquated legacy systems,” said co-founder Harman Singh Narula.
“We don’t shy away from deep integrations with hotel property management systems [PMSes],” said co-founder SJ Sawhney. “We don’t just get a list of reservations from a PMS. We’re like an actual operating layer on top of the PMS for guest check-in, room assignments, etc., and that’s how you create that seamless experience where a hotel needs 45 fewer shifts at the front desk.”
>>GetMyBoat, an Uber for boats and other pleasure watercraft, said this week that Yanmar, a giant Osaka-based manufacturer of boat engines and other products, has acquired a majority stake in the business and injected $21 million in growth capital as part of a Series B round.
GetMyBoat will remain a standalone business.
Since 2019, the on-demand recreational boat rental and water experience marketplace saw its revenue grow at a “10X pace,” the company said somewhat cryptically. The marketplace lists 150,000 boats and water experiences across 9,300 destinations. GetMyBoat forecasts it will facilitate transactions leading to two million people boating by year-end.
>>Operto Guest Technologies, a provider of smart device automation and cloud-based software for the hotel, multifamily, vacation rental, and short-term rental sectors, has closed a $12 million ($15.3 million Canadian) Series A ﬁnancing.
Fuse led the funding. Existing investors Watchﬁre Venturers, BlackPines Capital Partners also joined.
Darren Huston of BlackPines Capital Partners (and formerly CEO of Booking Holdings) is chairman of the Vancouver-based startup.
Operto offers several functions. These include letting guests check-in and access a property via a digital key card or a unique smart lock access code. It also makes all the property instructions and technology devices automatically available via a guest’s smartphone. It has many automation services for property managers, too. Betakit has more details.
>>Busbud, an online marketplace for travelers to research and book intercity bus tickets on over three million bus routes worldwide, has secured an $11 million ($14 million Canadian) round of funding.
Wind Ventures, the strategic venture arm of a mobility and energy conglomerate in Latin America, led the round. Past investors Canadian Business Growth Fund, Export Development Canada, and K3 Ventures, also joined.
The Montreal-based startup has raised about $44 million ($55 million Canadian) to date.
Busbud said it had revenue growth in December 2021 at 280 percent year over year.
Busbud has also taken control of Recorrido, an intercity bus marketplace based in Santiago, Chile, that helped sell tickets for transporting 4 million passengers in 2021. It offers digital tools for bus operators, too.
Recorrido shareholders, including investors IGneous, Mountain Chile, Wayra Chile (the investment arm of Spanish telecom leader Telefónica), Mountain Partners, and Mercurius Private Equity, have become shareholders of Busbud.
“The Recorrido name will stay and expand its reach, as it resonates well with bus travelers in Latin America,” said Busbud CEO and co-founder LP Maurice.
>>Daytrip, a Czech travel startup, has raised about $6.8 million (€6.14 million) in a Series A round of funding.
Euroventures led the round. J&T Ventures, Nation 1 VC, and Pale Fire Capital participated.
Daytrip is a platform providing private car transfers with vetted drivers in 85 countries. Since its founding in 2015, it has been used by 300,000 travelers, primarily ones visiting Europe.
“The investment allows us not only to continue on our pre-Covid exponential trajectory but also to exploit entirely new and exciting opportunities that have since emerged in our markets,” said CEO Tomáš Turek.
>>Hosco, which aims to simplify hotel staff recruitment, has raised about $3.8 million (€3.4 million) in a funding round.
Aldea Ventures and Torsa Capital led the round. Nauta Capital, Athos Capital, and others also participated.
Hosco is a job network and recruitment tool for schools and more than 10,000 hospitality employers and schools.
It also partners with more than 400 hospitality education and training organizations to better prepare talent for today’s skillsets.
“There’s never been a more challenging time for employers to source talent,” said Olivier Bracard, Hosco’s co-Founder and CEO. “There are many critical gaps to fill around industry perception, benefits, talent matching, guidance, mentoring, and training.”
>>Point.me, a consumer-facing service that aims to let travelers redeem airline and credit card rewards for “better flights for fewer points,” has closed $2 million in seed funding.
PAR Capital Ventures led the round.
Point.me’s CEO and co-founder is Adam Morvitz, who previously created Juicy Miles, a well-regarded network of flight hackers that offer travelers help booking reward flights in exchange for a fee. Juicy Miles is rebranding as Point.me and will have an updated online search tool that will typically require a fee to use. TechCrunch has more details.
|PAR Capital Ventures
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: The exterior of a WoodSpring Suites property in Everett in Washington state. Parent company Choice Hotels is a client of travel startup Canary Technologies. Source: Choice Hotels.