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 funding news.
This week, travel startups announced more than $ 168 million in funding.
>>BlaBlaCar, which offers both long-distance carpooling and intercity bus travel, said this week it had raised $ 115 million (â¬ 97 million) in new investment. See the story of Skift.
>>Universal hydrogen, a company that strives to fuel carbon-free air travel, has closed a $ 20.5 million Series A funding round.
Playground Global led the round. Other investors include JetBlue Technology Ventures, Coatue, Airbus Ventures and Global Founders Capital.
The startup said it “connects the end-to-end hydrogen value chain for aviation, both for hydrogen aircraft and for hydrogen aircraft.”
>>Z travel, a Shanghai-based business travel company, has completed a new round of financing of more than $ 15 million, or “more than 100 million renminbi.”
Dongfang Jiafu led the round.
Z-Trip, founded in 2015, is somewhat similar to TripActions and TravelPerk in that it offers unique online travel booking services for businesses. But it caters to the unique needs of the Chinese market, with integrations with meeting planning agencies, car rental services, payment and refund services, and more.
Z-Trip CEO Congwei Huang said in a statement that his company provides travel management services to more than 1,000 medium and large groups and publicly traded companies, such as Fosun Group and China Wanda Group. The company’s âorder volumeâ doubled last year, despite the pandemic, he said.
>>Regent craftsmanship, a maker of flying electric ferries, has raised $ 9 million in funding.
The Boston-based startup is working on a sea glider that sails like a hydrofoil and flies like a plane, CNBC reported.
>>Halal reservation, which helps Muslim travelers book halal-friendly travel, received a $ 5 million investment in March 2021 from private angel investors, including the British Business Bank, in the form of convertible debt . The startup continues to raise funds.
HalalBooking helps travelers find hotels and restaurants that don’t push alcohol. Many of its resorts offer male and female-only facilities for indoor and outdoor pools and spas.
>>Virdee, a provider of contactless technology to hosting providers, closed a $ 4 million round of seed funding.
Silverton Partners led the round. LiveOak Venture Partners and DJR Advisors also participated. DJR Advisors is a group that includes Richard Gray, who founded, built and ultimately sold hotel analytics company TravelClick to Amadeus.
Virdee provides registration and virtual concierge services to hotels and commercial real estate companies.
“We believe that the debate over whether automated check-in, verification and payment solutions will replace traditional methods has long been settled, and the question is no longer ‘if’ but ‘when’â, said Nadav Cornberg, co-founder of Virdee.
Check out Virdee’s profile from Skift, when its CEO was Rajiv Trivedi, former CEO of La Quinta.
>>Ocus, an image processing technology solution, closed a $ 24 million investment led by Ring Capital.
The Paris-based company is not a travel start-up, but many travel brands, including Booking.com, Hilton, KKDay, and Radisson, use its services. Ocus helps these travel brands and other businesses digitally find the most relevant images for online marketing. It also tracks which images drive the most social engagement and booking conversions.
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 fundraising rounds come in waves.
Seed capital is money used to start a business, often run by angel investors, friends or family members.
Series A funding usually comes from venture capitalists. 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 fundraisers 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 mostly mature companies and the fundraising cycle can help a company prepare to go public or be acquired. Various types of private investors could participate.
Photo Credit: A photo illustration of what the Regent’s first electric flying machine that will carry commercial passengers by sea and air could look like when completed. Regent