Travel Tech is a vast and global category, with 40 years of brilliant history and a very long way to go. Despite the powerful presence of established players, many of which have seemingly cornered various sectors, the eagerness to support new businesses never appears to subside in travel. More than 1000 individual investments have been placed into travel-related startups in the last three years. These range from around 100 undisclosed levels of seed, venture and angel rounds to late-stage, Series E and F investments into businesses with already eye-watering levels of funding behind them.
Startups with mobility at their heart dominate the investment dollars flowing into the industry, but other sectors have obviously still managed to catch the eye of investors. Tours and activities, for example, for all the attention it has received this year due to the moves were taken by the likes of Booking Holdings and TripAdvisor, still saw some significant rounds going into startups like Klook, Tiqets, TourRadar or Peek.
Other Sizeable rounds of note are Vacation rental service Sonder; Multi-modal search engine GoEuro; Travel upgrade tech provider; PlusGrade -; Digital marketing platform Sojern -; Price prediction and booking service Hopper; Cruise booking platform Dreamlines -; Vacation rental service Vacasa -; Flash sales platform Secret Escapes.
There has never been a more exciting time to invest in Travel Tech: Marketplaces, mobile devices, a growing global base of travellers – especially Millennials- are the perfect storm to expand and transform the industry, with drastic changes affecting both large and small, anywhere in the world. While this changing scenario will become increasingly difficult to navigate, it will also be increasingly full of great opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors who can understand and embark on «managing risks».
The tourism industry is highly fragmented; It is highly massive and transactional, so the operational capability is essential; It is global and with reduced margins, so scalability and volume are vital; without significant barriers to entry, despite being a partially regulated industry is exposed to disruption; and technology is critical since it is the basis of business, is part of the backbone.