Skift Take

Beond is selling a "premium luxury" air travel experience, and Minut wants to help short-term rental hosts detect things like cigarette smoke and noisy guests.

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.

Seven travel startups have announced fundraises of more than $305 million over the past week.

Beond, a “premium leisure” airline startup, has raised $13 million in pre-series A funding. 

Investors include family offices, angel investors, and strategic partners, the company said. 

The startup said it is now looking for investors for a series A round of $25 million. The company completed an oversubscribed seed round of $17 million in August 2023. 

Beond is headquartered in Dubai, with its first hub at the Velana International Airport in Malé, Maldives. Beond last month started commercial flights between its hub and airports in Munich, Zurich, and Riyadh.

The startup has one plane, an Airbus A319 aircraft, with 44 seats that lie flat. The airline said its experience includes “fine dining,” with Beond-branded fine china from William Edwards and cutlery from Robert Welch. It also offers a limousine flight transfer service for certain flights. 

Beond said in a statement last month that the company’s goal is to have 32 aircraft and 60 destinations within five years. The company next July plans to start flights from its hub to Bangkok and Milan, according to its website. 

The funding will go toward the startup’s growth plans, which include hiring and scaling sales and marketing.

All the seats on the Beond aircraft can lie completely flat.

Air Space Intelligence: $34 Million

Air Space Intelligence, which provides software to commercial airlines and other clients, has raised $34 million in series B funding. It was led by firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), with support from Bloomberg Beta, Renegade Partners, and Spark Capital. 

San Francisco-based ASI said its AI-powered platform allows air operation centers to more easily monitor and optimize flights, meant to fill a gap where legacy systems are struggling to keep up with increasingly complex air travel operations. The software can monitor tens of thousands of airborne objects at different altitudes and predict how they are moving, the company said. 

Clients include Alaska Airlines and other U.S. airlines. The company has signed three contracts with the U.S. Air Force in the past four months and plans to expand business with the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Center: $30 Million

Center, which provides companies software to streamline expense management, has raised $30 million in series C funding. 

The round was led by Top Tier Capital Partners, with support from Durable Capital Partners. The company said it has now raised $140 million.

The Washington-based startup said it can provide corporate cards to clients’ employees along with a platform that tracks spending, including business travel. 

The company is exploring how it can allow clients to integrate its tools into other software products they use day-to-day.  

“We are confident that how a payments platform integrates with other software packages will not only become a top priority for customers across industries but will also evolve into the most crucial payments differentiator,” said Naveen Singh, CEO of Center, in a statement.

Funding will go toward improving the product and expanding the business in an effort to reach profitability. 

The company said its client base has grown 64% this year.

WAmazing:  $9.7 million

WAmazing, an online travel agency for Japan, has raised $9.7 million (1.4 billion Japanese yen) in series C funding from multiple investors

The company said it has now raised a total of $31.2 million (JPY 4.53 billion Japanese yen).

The Tokyo-based company said it sells products including accommodation, sightseeing, shopping, transportation, and food and beverage. Besides the travel agency, WAmazing provides travel consultant services for governmental agencies and Japanese businesses. 

The company said sales in 2023 were 5.5 times higher than before the pandemic, and it needs funding in order to continue scaling and hiring. 

Minut: $5 Million

Minut, which provides various sensors to help hosts monitor short-term rentals, has gotten another $5 million toward its series B round from Smedvig Capital.

That brings the total of the series B round to $20 million, with investments from Almaz Capital, Zenith, Kompas, Karma, KPN Ventures, SOSV, Verve, and others.

The Sweden-based startup said its products help hosts monitor their properties to ensure that guests are following rules. Products include sensors that can detect motion, temperature, and more. Two new features this year include a sensor that can monitor noise indoors and outdoors, as well as a sensor that can detect cigarette smoke. 

If a sensor detects unpermitted activity, such as too much noise outside, connected software can automatically notify the guest. 

The company expanded its services to hotels this year. 

Transferz: $3.8 Million 

Transferz, which partners with ground transportation companies to streamline the booking process of private transfer services, has extended its series A funding round with a new investment from Holiday Extras.

That makes the total for the round over €10 million, the startup said, including €6.5 million raised in February. 

The Netherlands-based company lists transfer services on third-party booking platforms and provides software that clients can use to track their business and operations. The startup also offers an app that drivers can use to track flight times, monitor the fleet, and communicate with passengers. 

Klook: $210 Million 

Klook, an online travel agency for ticketed activities and more, has raised $210 million in a mix of venture equity and bank financing.

The equity round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from BPEA EQT, Asia investment funds Atinum Investment, Golden Vision Capital, Krungsri Finnovate, Kasikornbank Financial Conglomerate, and SMIC SG Holdings. 

Bank financing came from Citi, J.P. Morgan, and HSBC. 

The company did not say how much of the total amount raised was venture capital versus debt. 

(See Skift’s story.)

BeondPre-series AUndisclosed$13 million
Air Space IntelligenceSeries BAndreessen Horowitz$34 million
CenterSeries CTop Tier Capital Partners$30 million
WAmazingSeries CUnspecified$9.7 million
MinutSeries B extensionSmedvig Capital$5 million
TransferzSeries A extensionHoliday Extras$3.8 million
KlookUnspecifiedBessemer Venture Partners$210 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: airlines, funding, startups, vcroundup

Photo credit: Airline startup Beond began service this year. Beond / Beond

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