Skift Breaking News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Online Travel

Travel Planning and Booking Platform TrovaTrip Raises $15 Million

4 days ago

TrovaTrip, a Portland, Oregon-based startup that connects social media content creators and travelers, has raised $15 million in a Series A round led by the Madrona Venture Group.

TrovaTrip, which offers more than 150 experiences in 48 countries, enables travelers to participate in activities such as hiking in Patagonia and doing yoga in Bali. Creators establish the price for experiences they’re leading while TrovaTrip sets up a page for hosts to promote their trips, which are run by certified tour operators. TrovaTrip plans to use the investment for its expansion plans.

The company, which was founded in 2017, has raised $20 million in funding to date. The Series A funding round follows TrovaTrip’s $5 million seed funding that was announced in August 2021.

Startups

Guesty Raises $170 Million for Short-Term Rental Management Software

1 month ago

Guesty, which makes software for managing short-term rentals and other travel lodging, said on Tuesday it had raised $170 million in a Series E round of funding.

Apax Digital Funds, MSD Partners, and Sixth Street Growth led the round, while existing investors Viola Growth and Flashpoint also took part. Guesty said it was on track to generate $100 million in revenues within the next year.

“Despite an exceptionally challenging fundraising climate, the funding Guesty has raised is a vote of confidence in the travel and short-term rental ecosystem,” said co-founder and CEO Amiad Soto.

Customers use Guesty to take bookings and payments directly and via Airbnb, Vrbo, Expedia, Booking.com, and other online travel agencies. The platform helps streamline the process of communicating with guests and handling housekeeping and other operational tasks.

The company will use some of the capital to make acquisitions and expand into unspecified new business verticals. Its executives believe that, as short-term rental managers become more professionalized and grow in size, they will outsource more tasks to tech vendors. They argue that this dynamic will lead to industry consolidation. For context, Skift Research subscribers can read Skift Research’s hospitality reports.

Guesty was part of the winter 2014 class at Y Combinator. One of the things the accelerator’s mentors taught Guesty’s founders was to focus on creating a small fan base of dedicated customers and super-serving them before scaling. Soto credits focus on polishing the product for the edge the company has had over rivals.

Startups

Travel Tech Firm Skipper Raises $5 Million to Help Indie Hotels

2 months ago

Skipper, a hospitality tech startup that offers direct booking tools for hotels, came out of stealth on Friday with a $5.8 million seed round. 

Google’s Gradient Ventures led the round. Other investors taking part include Pear.VC, Wayfinder, Uncommon Capital, ERA, angels Ryan Simonetti (Convene), Neil Parikh (Casper), and Aaron Frank (Final).

Here’s how the startup describes itself: “Skipper is building a new network for hotels that includes a streamlined booking engine to make booking easy.”

Upselling and cross-selling can boost the revenue of hotels along the way.

CEO Jason Shames previously led digital at the trendy U.S. brand Ace Hotels, and saw how challenging it was for independent hotels to create a connected guest experience similar to what many of the big chains offer.

“Our company aims to give independent hotel owners the tools they need to compete with large chains and online travel agencies and thrive on their own,” Shames said in a statement.

Travel Agents

Travel Agency Fora Raises $13.5 Million With Aim to Attract More Prospective Agents

2 months ago

Fora, a New York-based travel agency that launched last year, announced on Thursday it raised $13.5 million.

Venture capital companies Heartcore Capital and Forerunner co-led the Series A funding. Fora, which has raised a total of $18.5 million to date, aims to use the funding to invest heavily in infrastructure, including its own booking management system. Co-founder Evan Frank said the funds will also help the company recruit more prospective travel agents, as nearly half of U.S. travelers plan to use agents coming out of the pandemic. Fora estimates that 97 percent of its roughly 500 advisors had never previously sold travel.

“We are looking to create an environment to empower thousands — hundreds of thousands — of people to participate in the travel industry in a way not previously was not possible,” said Frank. “We want to welcome the next 100,000 travel agents into the industry.”

Startups

Travel Startup Boatsetter Raises $38 Million

2 months ago

Boatsetter, which offers more than 50,000 personal watercraft for rental along with activities like wakeboarding, said on Monday it had raised $38 million in Series B funding.

Level Equity participated in the round. The same firm recently helped vacation rental property manager Vacasa go from startup to public company.

The Miami-based Boatsetter believes it can do for boating what Airbnb did for short-term rental apartments.

“By making it simple and worry-free to book an experience through Boatsetter, we’ve been able to welcome hundreds of thousands of new boaters onto the water for the very first time,” said Jaclyn Baumgarten, co-founder and CEO of Boatsetter.

The digital private markets team of J.P. Morgan Securities served as the sole placement agent for the deal.

Online Travel

Thai Energy Giant PTT Will Invest in Traveloka

2 months ago

Thailand-based public firm PTT Oil and Retail Business (PTTOR) is set to invest in Indonesian travel superapp Traveloka, through its subsidiary, PTTOR International Holdings Singapore.

While the value of the investment has not yet been disclosed, the retail arm of Thailand’s state-owned energy giant PTT, through its collaboration with Traveloka, aims to provide additional lifestyle solutions to its customers in line with its strategy to become a one-stop solution for all lifestyle needs.

Having so far raised a total of $1.2 billion in funding, Traveloka was said to be in talks for another funding round of more than $200 million, after its plans to go public through a special acquisition company failed to take off.

Last valued at $3 billion, there had been speculations that the online travel and lifestyle company could go public via a traditional initial public offering in the U.S. instead.

The Indonesia-based online travel unicorn that has its presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines has since been seeking new investment opportunities.

Besides offering travel, tourism and accommodation options, Traveloka has now developed into a superapp allowing users to book healthcare, financial services products and food delivery.

With PTT Oil and Retail Business’ expertise, Traveloka aims to capture the demand and provide enhanced solutions to its customers, while also creating new opportunities for its merchant-partners in Thailand and the region.

“We see immense value from the collaboration as we see the region growing at a rapid pace, leading to greater opportunities in the industry,” Ferry Unardi, co-founder and CEO of Traveloka, said.

As tourism is one of the major economic contributors to the Thai economy, PTTOR aims to strengthen its focus on the sector through this initiative while providing growth opportunities for small and medium enterprises in the travel sector.

“Given Traveloka’s position as a leading online platform for travel and lifestyle services in Southeast Asia, as well as its strong technology capabilities, I believe there is a range of areas we can explore together with Traveloka, to further enhance our tech capabilities,” Jiraphon Kawswat, president and CEO of PTTOR, said. 

Travel Technology

Travel Startup Caravelo Raises About $3 Million in Funding for Travel Subscriptions Tech

3 months ago

Caravelo, a startup specializing in travel subscription services, said on Monday that it had received approximately $3 million (€3 million) in funding from Banco Sabadell via Sabadell Venture Capital and Inveready Venture Finance.

Caravelo, based in Barcelona, said it had seen revenue from its travel subscription solutions double in the first half of the year.

In the past year, it began helping Alaska Airlines on the back-end with that carrier’s recently launched subscription program.

Since 2018 the startup has run a subscription offering on behalf of Volaris, the Mexican low-cost carrier. The Volaris VPass lets more than 30,000 consumers fly within Mexico once a month, paying only taxes when you book in return. Plans vary, but the monthly subscription for round-trip tickets is about $35 (699 Mexican pesos) a month. Volaris’ VPass recently reported a 95 percent increase in users, year-over-year, as well as revenue that is already 105 percent above pre-pandemic levels.

“In the past year, the industry has finally woken up to the power of subscriptions,” said CEO Iñaki Uriz. “We have seen a marked increase in the number of airlines that are working with us to build subscription programs. We are expecting to make new announcements before the end of the year, including the launch of a new type of subscription product by a large carrier in Latin America.”

Travel Booking

Europe’s Multi-Modal Travel Platform Omio Raises $80 Million

3 months ago

Multi-modal transportation platform Omio has raised $80 million, with plans to expand via new partnerships, acquisitions and further growth into the U.S. after Europe-wide expansion.

Omio launched in North America in 2020, but was then hit by the pandemic. However revenue has recovered to more than double pre-pandemic levels, and according to reports founder and CEO Naren Shaam said the U.S. market had “bounced back.”

The Berlin-based travel app, which integrates more than 1,000 transportation providers across trains, buses, ferries, cars, airport transfers as well as flights, may also be able to tap into increased demand for sustainable travel (it claims that one in four customers change their bookings from flights to trains), as well as travel’s holy grail of the connected trip.

Earlier this year Omio helped build a new international website for the UK’s London North Eastern Railway, to make train travel easier to book for overseas customers. The rail company counts 10 countries as its global market, including China, Japan, Spain, South Korea and Italy. The new search and booking engine lets customers in those countries purchase tickets in their own language and currency.

In March it added a partnership with CheckMyBus, a global intercity bus search engine, while it also has collaborations in place with Kayak, Huawei and Portugal’s state-owned railway company.

Omio’s Series E funding came from new investors Lazard Asset Management and Stack Capital Group. Existing investors NEA, Temasek and funds managed by Goldman Sachs Asset Management also contributed.

In 2020 Omio raised $100 million to fund the purchase of other travel companies, after buying Australia-based Rome2Rio in 2019.

Business Travel

TripActions Wants to Raise Even More Money — Reports

4 months ago

Corporate travel agency TripActions is looking to secure more funds, according to Bloomberg.

It said the startup was looking towards a $9 billion valuation.

The startup is reportedly in talks for a new round of funding at a higher valuation because investors are more keen on private technology companies due to the declining value of publicly-traded shares.

There’s also interest because travel is rebounding at a faster than expected rate.

Bloomberg said a spokesperson for TripActions declined to comment.

TripActions raised $275 million in October from investors including Greenoaks Capital Management, Base Partners and entrepreneur Elad Gil, giving it a $7.25 billion valuation.

Filters

Tags

funding

Clear Filters