Travel seed funding this week – Skift
Each week, we bring together travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. Please email Sean O’Neill, Travel Technology Editor-in-Chief, at [email protected] if you have any news about the funding.
This week, travel industry startups announced more than $ 184 million in funding.
>>Buser, an online reservation service for intercity buses in Brazil, raised 138 million dollars (700 million reais) in a funding round.
LGT Lightrock, Softbank, Monashees and Valor Capital participated in the round. The travel app now serves nearly 4 million users and it expects a boom in intercity travel once the pandemic has subsided.
In Brazil, intercity bus travel is essential. Air and rail operations are either expensive or insufficient for many travelers. During this time, most cities are connected by a single bus company, with limited schedules and routes.
The startup, founded in São Paulo in late 2016, acts as a matchmaker between travelers to Brazil looking to travel between particular cities on particular dates and executive bus rental companies that can meet customer demand.
In a related move, investors last month bet on Germany-based intercity bus start-up FlixBus.
>>Secure Clear, the airport biometric identification and control company, has filed an initial public offering with the aim of raising at least $ 100 million through the capital increase on the New York Stock Exchange.
To date, CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker is a major shareholder. Strategic shareholders include Delta Air Lines with a 5 percent stake and United Airlines with less than 5 percent stake. Other strategic shareholders of Clear include Liberty Media (owner of Formula 1, Atlanta Braves and sole investor in Tripadvisor) and Enlighted Hospitality (owner of Danny Meyer’s restaurants and other properties). See Skift’s story on Clear.
>>Collective retreats, a glamping startup, said it raised $ 23 million in a Series C funding round.
Fireside Investments led the round. Outdoors, a peer-to-peer reservation service for recreational vehicles (RVs), participated in the investment round. It plans to inform its motorhome and motorhome tenants about hybrid camping offers managed by Collective Retreats.
Denver-based Collective Retreats has raised $ 43 million since its founding in 2015. See Skift’s story on the latest fundraiser.
>>Nium, a Visa-backed startup, has expanded its business-to-business travel payment technology by announcing its intention to acquire Ixaris, a virtual card platform, in the third quarter. The companies did not disclose the value of the transaction. Nium specializes in cross-border payments. See the story of Skift.
>>Psngr1, a business travel planning and management company, has raised $ 5 million in funding.
The New York-based startup, which offers online travel management services for businesses, did not disclose the names of the investors.
>>Zytlyn Technologies, a travel data analytics startup, said Thursday it has secured $ 2.5 million in funding.
Funders included Plug & Play Ventures, Century Oak, the Geneva Foundation for Technological Innovation (FONGIT FIF), strategic angels such as Elyes Mrad (Managing Director, Certares), Julia Sattel (formerly of Amadeus), Niels Gron (founder of AquaFold), as well as the support of the Swiss ICT Investor Club (SICTIC).
Travel involves complex permutations and massive fragmentation, making it difficult for leaders to imagine what’s going on. Zytlyn can help fill the gaps, said co-founder and CEO Houman Goudarzi.
The Geneva-based startup helps airlines, travel agencies, airports and hotels analyze and forecast related to demand patterns, prices, revenue and sales. Travel agencies don’t have to replace their existing systems but can use Zytlyn with their other tools. Customers feed their data into Zytlyn’s data and prediction platform.
The startup uses artificial intelligence and machine learning models to generate real-time actionable predictive information for analysts, managers and executives on consumer, competitor and market behavior, Goudarzi said.
>>Star gear store, a manufacturer of hotel robots in China, raised about $ 3 million (19 million renminbi) in a funding round with investors, including Innoangel Fund.
The company supplies robots that deliver food and other items to hotel guests. It offers the robots for free to hotels, then takes a share of the customers’ purchases. ChinaTravelNews first reported on funding.
>>Where is my transport, which uses technological and ethnographic research to study the use of public transportation in emerging markets, has raised $ 14.5 million in extended Series A funding.
Naspers Foundry, Cathay AfricInvest Innovation Fund and SBI Investment led the round. The London-based startup gathers and analyzes information to help policymakers build the most efficient public transport networks in emerging market megacities.
>>European sleeper, a new Dutch rail company dedicated to night trains, raised around $ 610,000 (€ 500,000) in seed capital as part of a crowdfunding campaign with 350 investors. It plans to create its first night train between Brussels and Prague with the Czech private rail operator RegioJet. See Skift’s story on European Sleeper.
>>Autobook, which offers software to help hoteliers and operators generate more direct bookings, closed a $ 2 million funding round.
TenOneTen Ventures, Abstract Ventures and Better Tomorrow Ventures participated. the
The New York-based startup has raised $ 3 million to date.
Hoteliers add code to their websites, and the software integrates with popular booking engines like Saber’s Synxis and popular payment methods like Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Rather than redirecting customers to an old-fashioned, form-heavy reservation
models, the software borrows tricks from retail e-commerce and allows customers to book packages or add upsells more simply, the company said.
Enterprise Ireland and Motley Fool Ventures led this round.
The Dublin-based startup is now lifting a similar waistline to expand into Germany and other markets. It will also launch recreational vehicle (RV) and motorhome rental options as well as German, Italian and Spanish versions of its site.
Thomas Mangas of Centerfire Capital made the biggest investment. Mangas is the former CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
Luxury Travel Hackers (LTH) is a company that compiles recommended vacations thematically related to the interests and budget of different types of travelers. He produces travel content with influencers and makes vacations bookable through social media. It strives to have “Hollywood production quality content” for its storytelling, said co-founders Gary Kohn and Katie Warner. LTH plans to offer a membership program.
>>Wantotrip, a travel planning community, recently raised $ 72,000 in its Flat6Labs Tunis seed funding round.
The startup was founded in Belgium in 2017 by Chahrazed Remadi and Makrem Hermassi. It sells themed trips designed and led by local experts from around the world.
Skift cheat sheet:
We define a startup as a company formed to test and build a repeatable and scalable business model. Few companies meet this definition. The few that often attract venture capital. Their round tables come in waves.
Seed capital is the money used to start a business, often run by angel investors and friends or family.
Series A funding usually comes from venture capital firms. The cycle aims to help the founders of a startup make sure that their product is something that customers really want to buy.
B series funding is primarily for venture capital firms that help a business grow faster. These rounds of funding can help recruit skilled workers and develop profitable marketing.
C series financing usually involves helping a business grow, for example through acquisitions. In addition to VCs, hedge funds, investment banks and private equity firms often participate.
D series, E and beyond These predominantly mature companies and the round table can help a company prepare to go public or be bought out. Various types of private investors could participate.
Photo credit: Planes at Zurich Airport in Switzerland in 2020. Zurich Airport