Skift Take

CleanJoule wants to make jet fuel from agricultural waste, while Atly is building an app that's a cross between a mapping tool and social media.

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.

Four travel tech startups have raised $328 million in capital this week. 

>>CleanJoule has raised $50 million toward development of a sustainable aviation fuel. 

The round was led by the principals of Indigo Partners, with support from GenZero, Cleanhill Partners, and three airlines: Frontier Airlines, Wizz Air, and Volaris. Indigo Partners is the controlling stakeholder for Frontier and also has stakes in Wizz Air and Volaris.

The Salt Lake City-based startup said it is developing technology meant to more cost effectively produce fuel from agricultural residues and other waste biomass, contributing to an industry goal to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

As part of the investment, the three airline contributors have signed contracts to purchase up to 90 million gallons of the fuel. 

“Indigo Partners and its portfolio airlines are committed to decarbonizing air transportation, and the investment in CleanJoule will increase the supply of SAF to the industry,” said Bill Franke, managing partner of Indigo Partners and chairman of Frontier, in a statement. “The company has developed a unique technology to convert abundantly available feedstocks into SAF with remarkable efficiency. We believe that CleanJoule will be a key player in the decarbonization puzzle of the aviation industry.”

>>Atly, a travel mapping and social media app, has raised $18 million in funding from Target Global, Tal Ventures, and FKA Brands. The announcement comes in conjunction with the app’s public release after its beta stage. 

The Tel Aviv-based mapping app allows users to search for specific attributes for the places they’re looking for, such as a restaurant that’s “downtown” and “trendy,” meant to narrow down the usual long list of suggestions. 

A main feature of the app is that it includes user-generated local travel recommendations organized by topic, meant to help users more easily find the specific places they’re looking for. 

Users also have a social media profile on the app where they can publish posts and share their own recommendations. 

The funding will go toward strengthening the software, releasing new features and updates, and collaborations with content creators.

“We search for things like ‘cafe’ or ‘restaurant’, when in reality, these are simply proxies for the things we are actually searching for, whether that’s a place that serves cold brew or some mouth-watering French toast. And when we finally find a place, the rating and reviews are unreliable. Is the cafe rated 3.5/5 because of the coffee? The atmosphere? Weak Wi-Fi? Talk about a mediocre search experience,” said Joshua Kaufman, Atly co-founder, in a statement.

“At Atly, we are bringing mapping up to speed with the modern world by enabling people to search for the specific things they actually want – and our organically grown user-base is proof that we’re fulfilling this need.” 

>>GetYourGuide, the Berlin-based tours and activities booking platform, has raised $85 million in series F funding as well as $109 million in revolving credit. 

Blue Pool Capital led the venture capital round, with participation from KKR and Temasek. UniCredit led the revolving credit facility, with participation from BNP Paribas, Citibank, and KfW. 

GetYourGuide has now raised more than $1 billion.

(See Skift’s story.) 

>>Hostaway, a Miami-based vacation rental management platform, has raised $175 million. The funding round was led by PSG Equity.

(See Skift’s story.)

CompanyStage LeadRaise
CleanJouleUnspecifiedIndigo Partners$50 million
AtlyUnspecifiedUnspecified$18 million
GetYourGuideSeries FBlue Pool Capital$85 million
HostawayUnspecifiedPSG Equity$175 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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Tags: frontier airlines, funding, getyourguide, Hostaway, Indigo Partners, mapping, mobile apps, short-term rentals, startups, sustainability, sustainable aviation fuel, tours and activities, travel technology, vcroundup, venture capital

Photo credit: Frontier Airlines has committed to purchasing the fuel alternative made by CleanJoule. (Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mr_t_in_dc/3694800931) Mr.TinMD / Flickr

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