Viatu Raises $1 Million to Book Eco-Friendly Trips in Africa

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Skift Take

The startups featured want to sell eco-friendly trips to Africa, e-bike rides in London, and train ticket upgrades throughout the UK.

Four travel tech companies raised more than $27 million over the last two weeks. 

>>Viatu, a booking platform for multi-day, eco-friendly trips, has raised $1 million in seed funding. It was led by Ndoto, with participation from ASI Reisen and angel investors including Loic Amado. 

The Switzerland-based startup said its trip builder includes live pricing and availability, and its platform allows users to book lodging, experiences, and car rentals through a single platform.

Viatu said it focuses on non-traditional destinations by making information about those places more easily accessible. The company said it specializes in trips to sub-Saharan African destinations, such as Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda, and South Africa. The platform includes the option to book experiences such as an “eco-luxury” getaway in the Etosha National Park.

Viatu said it aims to make sustainable travel easier in a number of ways. It only offers destinations with credentials that are in line with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s destination criteria. Its service providers are all scored using the Green Globe International Standard for Sustainable Tourism metrics. 

The startup also tracks carbon calculations for all types of activities, including car rentals and hotel stays. This enables Viatu to either make climate contributions and directly purchase the relevant credits on behalf of their users automatically once the trip is completed, for example purchasing carbon credits from the Wonderbag climate project in South Africa,.  

Viatu said its revenue quadrupled in 2022, which was its second year of operation, and the company aims to triple revenue in 2023. The latest funding will go toward finishing and improving the booking system. 

>>HumanForest, an e-bike operator in London, has raised $8.8 million (£7 million) in venture capital as part of its series A funding round. It was led by family offices including LarrainVial and Santa Cecilia, Cabify executives, the founder of TheVentureCity, and existing investors.

The company also secured $6.3 million (£5 million) in financing from Triodos Bank UK.

The venture capital will allow HumanForest to strengthen the tech platform, while the bank financing will allow the startup to double the size of its London fleet. 

The company has reached 300,000 users and completed 2 million trips since it launched 18 months ago.

Besides the user app, the startup has an ad tech platform that allows companies to advertise to users and provide them with 10 minutes free cycling per day.

>>Seatfrog, a London-based train ticketing app, has raised $7.5 million (£6 million) in growth funding from venture capital firms including Pembroke VCT, Praetura Ventures, and Octopus Ventures.

The consumer app allows users to book, change, and upgrade tickets. The Seatfrog tech is also meant to help operators run more profitable networks. 

The company said it saw 800 percent revenue growth in 2022, and the majority of new customers come from word of mouth. 

Seatfrog has secured exclusive partnerships with sixteen major train operators in the UK and Europe. 

>>MadeComfy, an Australia-based short-term rental property management company, has reportedly raised $10 million in venture capital and debt. It was led by Commencer Capital, with support from MC Fiduciary Pty Ltd, BridgeLane Capital, and a number of private investors.

The funds will go toward expanding the company across Australia and upgrading the tech platform. 

>>Roibos, a Spain-based platform meant to more easily connect travel providers with hotel companies, has secured an undisclosed investment from Constellation VMS Ventures, a division of Constellation Software Inc. The investment will help the company accelerate its growth and expand its presence globally.

Company Stage Lead Raise
Viatu Seed Ndoto $1 million
HumanForest Series A Unspecified $8.8 million
Seatfrog Growth funding Unspecified $7.5 million
MadeComfy Unspecified Commencer Capital $10 million

Skift Cheat Sheet

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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