Skift Take

This week, travel startups announced more than $115 million in funding. A few of the companies had very startup-y names such as Placemakr, TravelX, FutureStay, and Hoo.

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 $115 million in funding.

>>Placemakr (formerly known as WhyHotel), a next-generation lodging operator, has closed a $90 million round of venture equity funding. It has now raised $127 million in venture funding. 

It has also received commitments for up to $750 million in programmatic equity — a type of non-debt financing— that it will use to acquire more blended apartment and hotel assets. Read Skift’s profile of Placemakr.

>>Futurestay, a seller of software services to short-term rental operators, has raised $11 million in a Series A funding round.

BNM Capital Management led the round.

The startup has tripled in host inventory growth over the past three months.

“The short-term rental industry is the leading creator of entrepreneurs in the world,” said Futurestay
co-founder and CEO S. Philip Kennard. “It’s often overlooked that real people own and manage the vast majority of short-term rentals. Futurestay levels the playing field.”

“Futurestay has cracked the code for acquiring, onboarding, and professionalizing independent managers at scale,” said Samuel Shevat, a partner at BNM Capital Management.

>>TravelX, which is creating a blockchain-based, distribution protocol for travel, has closed a $10 million seed funding round.

Borderless Capital led the round. Algorand, Draper Cygnus, Myelin Capital, and Monday Capital joined the round, too.

The Miami-based startup, founded last year, aims to let airlines and other travel suppliers “tokenize” inventory. Tokenization will “enhance efficiency and profitability,” said CEO Juan Pablo Lafosse, the former CEO and founder of Almundo.

A decentralized approach will also open more flexible options for distribution and will enable organizations to handle inventory more adeptly in various situations, such as cancellations, Lafosse claimed.

“Blockchain technology introduces disruptive new value propositions and sources of efficiency for both suppliers and consumers of the travel industry,” said Barney Harford, an advisor to the startup and the former CEO of Orbitz Worldwide.

TravelX intends to launch its first service soon.

>>Anywell, which helps employees to work in creative spaces, closed a $10 million Series A round.

Pitango and Viola Ventures led the round. The startup, founded in Tel Aviv, had previously raised $5 million in seed funding.

It’s similar to Deskpass but has a focus on unexpected spaces, such as hotel lobbies.

Aloft Hotels participates in New York and New Jersey, allowing Anywell members, whose fees are paid by employers, to work in their lobbies and meeting rooms.

>>Hoo, a hotel booking service that revives the bidding model pioneered by Priceline, has raised more than $1.3 million (£1 million) in crowdfunding.

Hoo takes advantage of an exception to rate-parity clauses. For “private,” or “opaque” offers, hoteliers are contractually allowed to discount below the rates they advertise on online booking sites and may essentially split some of the commission they avoid paying — cutting a direct deal with consumers.

“More than 1,000” hotels are participating so far, the company said.

>>Trzmo, an app to simplify handling travel logistics and loyalty, has raised $1.2 million from investors.

>>TP Connects, a travel technology vendor, has seen Flight Centre, the giant Australia-based travel group, hike its equity stake from 22.5 percent to 70 percent.

The investment in the Dubai-based vendor, which specializes in helping airlines with distribution and digital selling, was a vindication of the work of founder and CEO Rajendran Vellapalath.

“The traditional airline distribution model is being disrupted, with growth in direct connections between buyers and sellers, the proliferation of new commercial models, the rise of new entrant technology providers and continued enhancements in connectivity,” said FLT leisure and supply CEO Melanie Waters-Ryan.

“TP Connects has been at the heart of the evolution in airfare distribution during the past decade, is now ingrained in our business and is integral to the new operating systems and platforms we are delivering in both the leisure and corporate sectors,” Waters-Ryan said. “Greater influence over future developments will also provide us with a better opportunity to be ahead of our competitors’ comparable solutions.”

FutureStaySeries ABNM Capital Management$11m
TravelXSeedBorderless Capital$10m
AnywellSeries APitango, Viola Ventures$10m
TrzmoSeedPrivate investors$1.2m
TP ConnectsStrategic EquityFlight CentreUndisclosed

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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Tags: funding, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: An image of the lobby of the Aloft Hotel property in downtown New York City. Aloft is a partner of the startup Anywell for lobby and meeting space for working nomads. Source: Aloft.

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