Published: Friday, 17 September 2021 08:12
This week a half-dozen travel startups collectively announced more than $87 million in funding, including SmarterTravel, a set of travel content brands once owned by Tripadvisor. — Sean O'Neill
This week, travel startups announced more than $87 million in funding.
>>SiteMinder, a hotel booking technology startup, said on Tuesday it had received $74 million ($100 million Australian) in a Series D investment round. Fidelity International, the asset management titan, led the round.
The investment comes after BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, in January 2020 took a sized equity stake in the Sydney-based startup, which helps hoteliers get guests online.
SiteMinder has begun preparations toward seeking regulatory approval to go public. The latest funding was at an enterprise valuation “in excess of” around $733 million (about $1 billion Australian), financial filings said.
Before this round, the company had raised approximately $120 million in capital from investors, including AustralianSuper, Ellerston, Pendal Group, and TCV (Technology Crossover Ventures). See Skift’s story for more.
>>SmarterTravel, the collection of media sites Tripadvisor sold in the past year at a $6 million loss, has been bought by a digital marketing agency (HopJump) that has adopted SmarterTravel as its new name. SmarterTravel has closed $9.5 million in a Series B funding round.
Link Ventures and Second Alpha led the round.
SmarterTravel has 7 million e-mail newsletter subscribers and includes brands such as Airfarewatchdog, Family Vacation Critic, and hotel reviews site Oyster. It has about 50 employees. TechCrunch first reported the news.
Said more formally, Tripadvisor’s ultimate disposition of the SmarterTravel’s operations resulted in an accounting recognition of a value of the assets below their book value, including goodwill, of approximately $6 million
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>>Atomize, a provider of revenue management software for hoteliers, has raised $4 million (€3.4 million) in funding from angel investors.
Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, the startup helps hoteliers set rates based on market signals. But it is expanding its services into other verticals, such as car rental, railways, and aviation.
Atomize is preparing to go public on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market in 2022, said CEO Alexander Edström.
>>Yookye, an experiential tourism startup, has raised $450,000 (€380,000) via crowd-funding from angel investors such as Giuseppe Miroglio, president of fashion powerhouse Miroglio Group.
Here’s the pitch from the startup, founded in 2018 in Alba, Italy: Consumers ask for trip itineraries for specific places, and “local experts” throughout Italy provide suggested itineraries the consumer can then pick from. To speed things up, the startup uses software to auto-complete and stitch together travel suggestions in response to interpreting customer requests.
Yookye, an accredited online travel agency, also uses blockchain, or distributed ledger, technology, to certify the authenticity of user reviews on locations, guides, tours, experiences, and services, said co-founder and CEO Paolo Taricco.
Yookye was one of five winners of the Train Digital Tourism Experience Challenge this summer run by Gruppo Fs Italiane in collaboration with the Federico II University of Naples. First reported on Skift.
>>Up Zero Point Trail, which runs sea-to-summit treks in Jeju Island, South Korea, has received a seed round of funding.
Jeju Creative Economy Innovation Center and the startup accelerator Krypton led the round.
The startup, founded in 2019 by CEO Yoo Ram, aims to bring C2 Summit-style hiking, which used to be the realm of professional mountaineers, to the general public with this hike that rises from sea level to 1.2 miles above sea level alongside the Hallasan volcano. The startup aims to expand into a brand specializing in outdoor lifestyles. First in English on Skift.
>>Faircations, a startup promoting sustainable and ethical, or “fair” vacations, has attracted its first investors, including Howzat Ennea Group.
The startup, launched in Frankfurt in February by Sonja Karl and travel tech expert Stefan Seibel, aims to make sustainable vacations accessible to a broad audience.
In recent years, more travelers have asked about the carbon emissions impact of their travels and whether the working conditions of resort employees are humane. Faircations aims to highlight vetted brands, similar to what Green Pearls does. First reported on Skift.
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Skift Cheat Sheet:
We define a startup as a company formed to test and build a repeatable and scalable business model. Few companies meet that definition. The rare ones that do often attract venture capital. Their funding rounds come in waves.
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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