This startup funding list covers the gamut: fuel sustainability in plane and trains, short-terms rentals for business travelers, day access to luxury hotels, and planting trees in tourist areas.
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.
Four travel tech startups raised $158.5 million over the last week and a half.
>>Lilium, which is developing an all-electric vertical take-off and landing jet, has closed on a funding round of $119 million.
Participants included Honeywell Aerospace and Aciturri, as well as LGT and affiliated impact investor Lightrock, Tencent, B. Riley Securities, and others. Lilium’s new CEO, Klaus Roewe, as well as three board members also participated.
Germany-based Lilium (NASDAQ: LILM), which is building an air taxi service, plans to use the latest funding to continue company operations and development of the jet. The company raised $240 million in 2020.
“These proceeds are expected to strengthen our balance sheet and advance our commercialization efforts including signing of customer agreements with pre-delivery payments, reaching an agreement with EASA on our Means of Compliance, and commencing assembly of the type-conforming aircraft for the final manned flight test campaign,” Roewe said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia’s national flag carrier Saudia said in October that it plans to purchase 100 jets from Lilium.
Lilium said in September that European charter airline GlobeAir plans to use 12 of the startup’s planes to serve Southern France and Italy.
>>AltoVita, a short-term rental platform designed for business travelers, has raised $9.5 million in an oversubscribed Series A investment round.
The London-based startup plans to use the funding to expand its portfolio, with a plan to deliver 2.5 million properties to businesses and employees across 35 thousand locations by the end of 2023. The company said it currently has a portfolio of 1 million properties in 165 countries and 1,553 cities, including Singapore, Dallas, and Bangalore.
The fund will also go toward strengthening the tech product, improving customer service,. and more.
Each property has high-speed internet, a washer and dryer, and personalized services, according to the website.
AltoVita said it has seen business quadruple each year for the past few years. Customers include Hewlett Packard Enterprises, Google and U.S. government agencies, the startup said.
It was founded in 2018 by Vivi Cahyadi Himmel and Karolina Saviova, born out of what they saw as a lack of available housing options for corporate travelers
It was led by Trucks Venture Capital with participation from new investors MUUS Climate Partners, Blackhorn Ventures, Incite.org, and Measured Ventures, as well as returning investors Active Impact Investments and Neil Murdoch.
Founded in 2020, the Montreal-based company’s EcoRail app is a software platform that uses artificial intelligence to analyze train load and passenger information to guide train crew employees on the best strategies for braking, throttle, and other train-handling adjustments.
Those adjustments are meant to help those trains reduce fuel consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
EcoRail has been tested over the past year with several companies, including Genessee & Wyoming, Metrolinx, Port of Montreal, and Via Rail. The startup said that early demonstrations of its app show fuel cost savings of 10-15 percent.
The app is now available for all passenger and freight shortline railroads.
“There is huge growth and impact potential in the rail sector yet not enough people are thinking about it,” said Mike Winterfield, managing partner of Active Impact Investments, in a statement. “Two impressive early pilots with major railways captured our interest and prompted our investment.
The funding will go toward technical hiring, growing the product development team, and to expanding its product line and customer base.
>>ResortPass has raised a Series B funding round of $26 million, co-led by Declaration Partners and 14W. Early backer CRV also participated in the financing, along with new investors Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, William Morris Endeavor, Adam Grant and Brian Kelly of The Points Guy.
The platform offers day access to luxury hotels and resorts around the world.
In addition to the funding, the startup shared that it has hired Michael Wolf as the new CEO.
>>Adventure travel specialist G Adventures has made a “significant financial investment” in Reforest, a digital platform that connects travelers with local communities that are restoring their ecosystems using reforestation.
|AltoVita||Series A||Novum Capital Partners and Fifth Wall||$9.5 million|
|RailVision Analytics||Seed||Trucks Venture Capital||$4 million|
|ResortPass||Series B||Declaration Partners and 14W||$26 million|
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: Pictured is a full-scale model of the seven-seater Lilium Jet at the company's headquarters in Munich. Lilium