A wide variety of potential travel innovations got funding this week, including a credit card for travelers, an online travel agency for recreational vehicles, and management software for tour operators.
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.
Seven startups involved in the travel industry have raised nearly $124 million this week.
>>Yonder, a UK credit card startup geared toward travelers, has raised $15.6 million (£12.5 million) in venture capital and $62.2 million (£50 million) in debt for its series A funding round.
It was co-led by Northzone and RTP Global, with support from angel investors Joseph Moore of Crust Bros and Kunal Shah of Cred.
The company said it is now valued at more than $87.2 million (£70 million). The company is soon launching a crowdfunding campaign.
Yonder offers rewards and special features for customers who use its card for travel, dining, and ticketed events. Those rewards are only for services based in London right now. But the company plans to expand to a second, unnamed UK city this year.
The company is using the equity toward growing operations and hiring for marketing, operations, engineering, and product roles. The debt will go toward funding the credit lines to support customer growth.
Users generally get one point for every £1 spent, or up to five points for each £1 when using the card to purchase services from one of the company’s partners across London. The company curates a list of up to 10 dining and ticketed event experiences each month that can earn users large amounts of extra points.
The company is looking at adding more eligible purchases to its reward program, like theater tickets, wellbeing, and vacation rentals.
The card also offers family travel insurance for medical needs, trip cancellations, car rental damages, winter sports gear damages, and more. The company does not charge fees for using the card abroad.
The card has a monthly fee of £15. According to the website, users who sign up can get the first month free and a £50 dining credit.
The variable representative annual percentage rate — which includes the monthly fee and the interest rate of purchases — is listed on the website as 64 percent. At least 51 percent of those accepted for the credit card will get that rate. The variable interest rate for purchases is listed as 27.71 percent.
>>Kindred, a members-only platform for home swapping, has raised $15 million in series A funding.
The round was led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Caffeinated Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Outset Capital, as well as individual investors Evan Moore and Dylan Field.
The San Francisco-based platform allows member homeowners to spend a short stay in other members’ homes. It’s the same concept as a vacation rental, except the company said there are no rental fees when swapping. With a cleaning fee and a maximum service fee of $25 per night, the guest could stay in a house for a week and pay only a few hundred dollars.
Homeowners must be approved to join the platform. Kindred said it had received 20,000 membership applications since launching the private beta version of its platform last spring, mostly from owners of primary residences rather than investment homes.
“This growth points to Kindred’s efforts to make hosting approachable, trustworthy, and hassle-free for real people who are looking to share or swap their primary residences versus those running short-term rental businesses,” the startup said in a statement.
The funding will go toward expanding in major markets in the Americas, including New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Mexico City, and more, as well as the launch in several major European cities later this year. The company will also invest in strengthening the online platform and building matchmaking technology.
>>Ditto, a startup that helps tech systems communicate and synchronize data without internet connectivity, has raised $45 million in series A funding. Acrew Capital led it with participation from U.S. Innovative Technology Fund, True Ventures, and Amity Ventures.
The airline industry is a major market focus for Ditto and has been the source of most of its major clients so far, although the software is not exclusively for the travel industry. Customers include Alaska Airlines, Lufthansa, Japan Airlines, and Etihad Airways, as well as the U.S. Air Force. Ditto has also partnered with Hugo, a Central American company whose app is used for ticketing and mobile food orders at Latin American stadiums and event venues.
San Francisco-based Ditto said its tech, which is integrated into client platforms, has sparked interest from the airline industry because it allows better connectivity and real-time data sharing in environments when internet connectivity is not always available.
Ditto said its tech works by automatically managing multiple network paths, such as Bluetooth, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, and local computer networks, to find and connect to other devices and synchronize any data changes. Those changes are stored locally and then synced instantly once the tech can connect again with the cloud or its main network.
The funding will go toward strengthening the tech and expanding within its existing markets and others.
>>Mooncard, a payments platform for corporate cards and business expenses, has raised $40.6 million (€37 million) in series C funding from Orange Ventures Fund and Canadian Portage Fund, with support from Aglaé Ventures, BlackFin Capital Partners, Partech, and Raise Ventures.
Mooncard provides Visa expense cards to its client companies. The startup said its platform automates expense reports and can be linked to accounting and management software. The platform also enables customizable payment limits for each card user, and one-off expenses can be authorized in real-time.
The Paris-based company said it has 6,000 company clients in France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands, and it plans to expand business within those countries. The company said it had doubled payment volumes yearly since its launch in 2016.
>>Spot2Nite, an online travel agency for the campground industry, has raised $3 million in series A funding, led by an undisclosed family office in Chicago with support from several firms, including Acadian Capital Venture.
New Orleans-based Spot2Nite is focused on the RV camping market, with a platform it said provides real-time RV space availability and pricing with filters to define rig requirements and preferences.
The startup plans to expand focus to other campground lodging verticals, like cabins, yurts, and ‘glamping’ sites. It also plans to expand partnerships with property management systems and distribution channels.
>>Your.Rentals, a short-term rental property management platform, has raised $2.4 million (€2.2 million).
The Sweden-based startup offers products including property management, channel management, payments, guest communication, and more.
>>PaxFlow, a startup platform meant to help tour operators manage and automate daily operations, has raised $2.2 million from venture capital firm Brunnur.
The Iceland-based startup said it offers platforms for tourism companies that provide day trips, activities, and experiences. Products include software for operations and employee scheduling, fleet management, customer service, and customer self-service. It includes integrations with partners that can offer software for bookings, payments, messaging, and more.
The funding will go toward hiring, strengthening the proprietary software, and expanding sales and marketing internationally.
PaxFlow spun off earlier this year from Origo, an IT service and products provider in Iceland. Origo maintains a share in the company.
|Northzone and RTP Global
|New Enterprise Associates
|Orange Ventures Fund and Canadian Portage Fund
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 Kindred platform enables homeowners to connect with each other and swap for a vacation. Image of a living room in a house bookable on Kindred. Source: Kindred Kindred / Kindred