Skift Take

Consumers are pushing payments for travel into the digital age as they demand smoother options.

Travel payments is the theme for this week’s startup funding roundup. 

Three of the startups featured this week are focused on simplifying various types of payments for the travel industry.

The most notable is Nium, which makes it easier for travel companies to exchange money between currencies. The travel industry historically has been behind in making the payments experience as smooth as possible. But there’s been a focus in recent years on catching up.

Amadeus has heard from travelers that easy payments are a top expectation for the industry in the next 10 years. 

Five travel tech startups announced over $88 million in fundraises over the last two weeks.

Nium: $50 Million

Nium, a business-to-business fintech platform that handles cross-border payments, has raised $50 million in a series E funding. 

The round values the company at $1.4 billion, Nium said. The company has now raised $338 million, according to Crunchbase. 

The latest round was led by an unnamed “sovereign wealth fund” in Southeast Asia, with support from Bond, NewView Capital, and Tribe Capital.

Businesses can use the Nium platform to more easily send and receive money between countries and currencies. For the travel industry — like in the case of a payment from a travel agency to an airline, for example — it means lower fees and quicker payouts. Nium also works with expense management platforms to improve the cross-border reimbursement process. 

San Francisco-based Nium holds regulatory licenses and authorizations for more than 40 countries, including recent approvals in Japan and New Zealand. 

The company said its revenue grew 50% in 2023 from the prior year. 

The funding will go toward global network expansion, product innovation, hiring, and acquiring other companies.

Nium has made several notable hires this year, including former Bank of America exec Alexandra Johnson as chief payments officer, former PayPal exec Rissy Ruddy as chief human resources officer, and former Revolut exec Anton Pasiechnikov as vice president of Finance

Torpago: $10 Million

Torpago, a corporate expense management platform, has raised $10 million in series B funding.

Priority Tech Ventures and EJF Ventures co-led the round, with support from BankTech Ventures and others.

San Francisco-based Torpago issues virtual and plastic corporate credit cards to business clients and offers a software platform for managing them. The platform includes capabilities for implementing guardrails and getting real-time spend alerts. The user app allows non-card expenses and reimbursements, and more.

Torpago is focusing on expanding its white-label product for regional and community banks, which allows them to offer branded corporate credit cards and expense management services to business clients. 

The company previously raised a $6 million series A round in 2023. 

“In addition to providing capital and introducing Torpago to our ecosystem partners, we look forward to engineering an operating plan that accelerates Torpago’s path to profitability,” said Thomas Priore, chairman and CEO of Priority Technology Holdings, in a statement. 

Swiipr: $7.7 Million

Swiipr, which specializes in payments for the airline industry, has raised $7.7 million (£6 million) in series A funding. 

Octopus Ventures led the round, with support from TX Ventures and Solano Partners.

The Swiipr platform enables airlines to digitize payments to passengers as compensation for delayed flights or other disruptions. Airline clients are able to issue virtual and physical pre-paid compensation cards for various reasons and uses. Airlines can also deploy money to staff and crew during trips and delays. 

The London-based startup says its platform can increase cost efficiency by up to 60% because it reduces the need for traditional payment methods like paper vouchers, bank transfers, or issuing cash at airports. 

The platform is fully compliant with the latest passenger rights regulations, the startup said. 

“Legacy compensation systems are unfit for purpose,” said Tara Spielhagen, co-founder and CEO of Swiipr, in a statement. “Not only do they cost an airline billions of dollars every year but they also exacerbate disruption and stress. It doesn’t need to be this way in a digital age, and we are proud to have developed a new solution that solves so many pain points. 

Swiipr has 26 airline clients, including British Airways, Play, Air India, Latam, and Norse. 

The funding will go toward improving the product and adding more international business.  

OneOrder: $16 Million

OneOrder, a supplier and wholesale distributor for hotels and restaurants, has raised a series A round of $16 million that includes equity and debt.

Delivery Hero Ventures led the round, with support from Norrsken22, Nclude, and A15.

Hotels can order various culinary and janitorial supplies through the OneOrder platform, as well as track and manage orders and submit payments.

Egypt-based OneOrder said it stores the various supplies in warehouses, allowing hotels and restaurants to use the company as a one-stop-shop rather than ordering from multiple suppliers. 

The company has more than 150 suppliers and more than 1,370 clients, including The St. Regis Cairo, Fairmont Nile City Hotel, and the The Nile Ritz-Carlton Cairo.

The company plans to expand into the Middle East later this year. The funding will also go toward building financing options and further integrating the platform with AI.

Qstay: $4.6 Million

Qstay, a vacation rental property manager and tech platform, has raised $4.6 million in pre-series A funding through a mix of conventional and convertible debt.

Dubai-based Qstay operates more than 300 properties in nine markets, with plans to expand between 2024 and 2026.

The startup says its website allows guests to complete bookings and includes a digital concierge service. The platform has facilitated bookings for more than 60,000 guests, the startup said. 

The company projects it will reach $63 million in revenue by 2025. 

NiumSeries ESovereign wealth fund$50 million
TorpagoSeries BPriority Tech Ventures, EJF Ventures$10 million
SwiiprSeries AOctopus Ventures$7.7 million
OneOrderSeries ADelivery Hero Ventures$16 million
QstayPre-series AUnspecified$4.6 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, artificial intelligence, business travel, expense management, funding, middle east report, online travel newsletter, short-term rentals, the prompt, vcroundup

Photo credit: Five travel tech startups raised over $88 million in the last two weeks. Free stock photos from / Pixabay

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