Skift Take

Atlys wants to make obtaining e-visas simpler for travelers, and Shackle is part of the growing effort to modernize the hotel industry.

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 tech startups involved with the travel industry announced fundraises of more than $31 million in the past week.

>>Atlys, a platform meant to streamline the process of securing electronic visas, has raised $12 million in series A funding.

The round was led by Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia Capital India) and Elevation Capital, with support from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, South Park Commons, Kearny Jackson, Weekend Fund, Mantis Venture Capital, which is owned by Chainsmokers artist Alex Pall, and others.

Atlys raised a $5 million seed round in 2021.

Atlys said its e-visa management platform aims to save customers from filling out lengthy documentation and paying high visa fees, and it has partnered with governments to facilitate visas and reduce overstays. The company is headquartered in San Francisco and has three offices in India. 

E-visas are digital versions of the travel permit documents commonly required for entry into certain countries by certain non-citizens. 

“Our [unique selling point] is to transform a process riddled with anxiety into one with certainty. By leveraging over a million data points, we’re able to predict when you’re going to get a visa, reduce visa rejection rates, and we have built the tech to make that happen,” said Mohak Nahta, founder of Atlys, in a statement. “We believe every Indian should have the opportunity to travel anywhere without the burden of complex visa processes. Atlys can help Indians get visas on time to over 100 countries and has reduced the time for applying for a visa to under three minutes.”

The funds will go toward improving product offerings, adding more customers, and hiring. 

Long term, Atlys has a goal to solve other international travel pain points, like credit for travel, remittance, and travel insurance.

 >>Shackle, a hotel tech platform meant to digitize the guest experience, has raised $14.7 million (£12 million) in series A funding.

The round was led by Silverstripe Investment Management Limited, with support from Frontline Ventures, founder Guillaume Pousaz, and Lime founder Brad Bao.

London-based Shackle said its consumer app includes tools for guest check-in, door unlocks, ordering and paying for room service, and more. The data that a guest provides through the Shackle app is saved for future stays at other hotels that use the platform.

The version of the platform for hoteliers includes a dashboard where staff can track guest activity and communications.

The platform is used by hotels in the U.S., the UK, and the UAE, the company said. 

“Travel is siloed and broken. Nowhere is this more apparent than the hotel booking and check-in process. When you arrive at a hotel, despite filling in online forms, the hotel still requires the same details physically from you. This can take 10-20 minutes, which is so out of step with the world we live in,” said Mark Abraham, CEO and founder of Shackle, in a statement. 

“Having spent my entire career working within the hotel industry in a variety of roles, I was acutely aware of how our industry has lagged when it comes to tech adoption. I was always ambitious to enhance the customer experience, and this is why I founded Shackle.” 

>>Giftpack, a corporate gifting platform that includes travel packages, has raised $4.3 million in seed funding. 

The round was led by Chang Hai Lin, with participation from Tech Coast Angels, Accelerating Asia, Digital Garage Inc., Umami Capitaland, and multiple other firms and individual investors. 

New York City-based Giftpack said its platform can automate the process of sending personalized gifts to employees of large companies. Clients include Google, J.P. Morgan Chase, Meta, and Zappos.

Some of the travel packages offered include a safari vacation, private helicopter ride, luxury cruises and train rides, private villa rentals, wine tours, and more, according to the company website. The company also offers travel-related goods, such as luggage.

The investment will go toward adding gift products and enhancing the platform. 

>>ZeroAvia, which is developing a hydrogen-electric aircraft engine, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding co-led by Airbus, Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital, and NEOM.

The round also received participation from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Alaska Airlines, Ecosystem Integrity Fund, Summa Equity, AP Ventures, and Amazon Climate Pledge Fund.

Headquartered in the UK and California, the company said it is developing hydrogen-electric engines that use hydrogen in fuel cells to generate electricity. That electricity is then used to power motors that turn the aircraft’s propellers, with water being the only byproduct during flight.

This investment will go toward certification of the company’s first engine.

Airbus also said it plans to collaborate with ZeroAvia on certification approaches for hydrogen power systems as well as development of related technologies and processes, such as liquid hydrogen fuel storage, flight and ground testing of fuel cell propulsion systems, and hydrogen refueling infrastructure and operations.

The company is working on retrofitting an aircraft provided by Alaska Airlines, with plans to begin testing in 2024.

AtlysSeries APeak XV Partners and Elevation Capital$12 million
ShackleSeries ASilverstripe$14.7 million
GiftpackSeedChang Hai Lin$4.3 million
ZeroAviaUndisclosedAirbus, Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital, and NEOMUndisclosed

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: funding, tourism, vcroundup, visa

Photo credit: Atlys is trying to simply the process of obtaining visas for travelers. Jan Vašek / Pixabay

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