Despite an increasingly negative economic forecast, travel tech startups raised billions of dollars in 2022.
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.
Skift kept an eye through much of 2022 on which travel tech startups raised money, documented in this weekly startup funding roundup.
Anything related to short-term rentals got the most frequent funding, but there was a wide variety of other startups that raise venture capital throughout the year despite a declining economic forecast.
Below is an outline of some of the most interesting travel tech startups, in alphabetical order, that received funding in 2022.
>>Deal Engine raised $5.3 million — not a lot compared to some of the others in this list — but the Miami-based startup is tackling a problem that’s a notorious headache for airlines and their customers: post-booking flight changes. Historically, airlines contract expensive call centers to deal with many of the change requests by customers, an issue that became unbearable during the pandemic.
Volaris told Skift that it starts the process with software by Sabre, but that only covers about half of the issues, and the rest historically were transferred to call centers. With the supplemental Deal Engine software, fewer than 10 percent of post-booking calls have to be sent to a call center now.
>>Gordian, a Y Combinator grad, raised $25 million to help airlines with upselling. The tech is used to help push travelers buying airline tickets into paying for extras like seating assignments and checked baggage.
Because airlines often weren’t getting any upsells in online channels because the agencies weren’t offering them, any gain is flowing directly to their bottom line. As a result, ordinarily bureaucratic carriers found ways to prioritize the integration.
Gordian in July reported it had more than 100 online travel companies and sites as customers. It also said at that time that it was operating at 15 times its 2019 revenue.
Hopper powers Capital One Travel, and Hopper also offers an array of fintech products, such as price freezes on flights and hotels, for an array of other partners. Hopper has said that much of its revenue comes from its unique fintech products.
Hopper claims to be the third largest online travel agency in North America, commanding 11.2 percent of third-party flight bookings in the U.S., citing Marketing Information Data Tapes figures.
>>Mews, a U.K.-based hotel tech startup, raised $185 million led by Kinnevik and Goldman Sachs. It was a number high above typical venture capital fundraises in that industry, especially impressive during the economic uncertainty that’s causing venture capital firms to hold onto money a bit tighter.
Mews offers a wide variety of cloud-based solutions for hotels — including property management, guest management, and a new payments system — all designed on an open system that allows hotels to connect the products with others they may use.
The company plans to focus more on the mid-market segment and expand geographically. Mews also plans to continue acquiring other hotel tech companies.
>>Rapido, a taxi service that uses motorbikes instead of cars, raised $180 million. The company operates in 100 cities across India. Investors included Swiggy, an Indian online food ordering and delivery platform.
The platform in April reported having 450,000 monthly active drivers and a total of more than 300 million orders.
The ResortPass customer software platform can market availability of a hotel’s amenities — spas, pools, fitness centers, meeting rooms, and more — and allow guests to use them during the day without needing to book an overnight stay. The company also offers hotel clients a software platform to manage that business on the backend.
The startup partners with more than 900 hotels, including brands like Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Westin, Fairmont, W Hotels, and Hyatt Hotels. Before the pandemic, the startup had about 100 hotel partners.
Founded by a Booking.com veteran, the startup’s board also includes Gillian Tans, former chair and CEO of the online travel agency giant.
TravePerk said it offers an all-in-one platform for business travelers, from booking to trip management. The agency is focusing on offering more sustainable travel options, and it’s also enhancing an events tool to help connect remote and hybrid teams.
- Kyte raised $60 million in venture capital, as well as $200 million in asset-backed credit financing from Goldman Sachs and Ares Global Management, for an on-demand car rental service that includes doorstep delivery.
- Volantio, an optimization startup focused on airlines, raised $6 million from firms like DiamondStream Partners, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, and Amadeus.
- Sensible Weather raised $4 million for a platform focused on reimbursing travelers for in-trip experiences that are negatively affected specifically for bad weather.
Of course, there were a bunch of short-term rental platforms and software companies that raised capital this year, including:
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Photo credit: Mexican carrier Volaris is an early client of travel tech startup Deal Engine. Kambui / Wikimedia Commons