Skift Take

About as niche as it gets, Sojo wants to help vacation rental operators automate the refill of products they provide to guests.

Three travel tech startups have raised $9.3 million in the past week.

>>Sojo, a platform that helps short-term rental operators manage amenity item refills, has raised $6.2 million in Series A funding, led by Ballast Point Ventures with participation from Jason Sprenkle, the CEO of Key Data Dashboard. 

Texas-based Sojo is meant to help operators automate the refill of supplies at the rental. The platform can connect to reservation calendars and guest data, automating the delivery of relevant bathroom and kitchen items, laundry products, pantry stock, maintenance items, guest gifts, and more.

Property managers can choose from a catalog of products, with the option to customize item sets and packaging labels.  

The funding will go toward the tech product and hiring. 

Max Farley, founder and CEO of Sojo, said there is a growing demand for this type of space in the vacation rental sector.

“Gone are the days of shipping products to your office, hiring staff to manage the kitting and fulfillment process, and dealing with errors and inconsistencies at every turn,” he said in a statment. 

>>Vipper, a European transportation ticket marketplace, has raised $2.1 million (€2 million) from Netsam Participations. 

Amsterdam-based Vipper is a hosting and booking platform for international rail, bus, and flight tickets in Europe. Besides the Vipper website and app, the startup can distribute through the Amadeus and Sabre systems, allowing airlines and travel agents to sell Vipper content.

The funding will go toward developing the tech platform, the startup said. 

“What drew us to Vipper was the management team’s vision to disrupt the travel industry,” said Allard van Velzen, investment manager of Netsam Participations, in a statement. “By building an inventory system from the ground up, they’re ahead of an industry where schedules and fare pricing is still distributed via spreadsheets and email. Additionally, we support their vision to make it easier for people to find and book train and bus routes in Europe which have better ethical and environmental benefits.”

>>Holdbar, a software platform to help tour operators manage business, has raised $1 million in pre-seed funding, led by Founderment.

Denmark-based Holdbar, which was founded just over two months ago, is meant to help tours and activities operators streamline business processes, including sales, digital bookings, group requests, marketing, business intelligence, and more. The platform also allows operators to integrate with other businesses.

It was founded by Lasse Kjær and Lars Daniel Blom Rasmussen, who previously built the Scandinavian activities platform Truestory

“From our work with Truestory, we have seen firsthand how many operators have out-of-date and inefficient systems to support their business and booking availability… And in many cases, they don’t have a system at all,” the founders wrote in a blog post announcing the fundraise. 

“This has made it nearly impossible for the operator to integrate into distribution channels, and it has created a very bad customer experience of not being able to book directly.”

There are currently 30 customers running bookings and gift card sales through a beta version of the platform, with more than 50 operators waiting for the first general product release, the company said.

CompanyStage LeadRaise
SojoSeries ABallast Point Ventures$6.2 million
VipperUnspecifiedNetsam Participations$2.1 million
HoldbarPre-seedFounderment$1 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 DE, 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: bookings, funding, online travel agencies, short-term rentals, software, startups, tour operators, vcroundup

Photo credit: Sojo wants to help vacation rental operators refill toiletries for guests.

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