The epidemic has hit the travel sector for the past 12 months, so you’ll be forgiven for feeling somewhat pre-Kavid-19 in this news: Business travel booking platform TravelPerk is announcing a $160M Series D. The goal, which is a combination of equity and debt funds, is led by London-based Greyhound Capital.
Existing investors also participated (in particular: DST, Kinnevik, Target Global, Felix Capital, Spark Capital, Heartcore, LocalGlobe and Amplo). No valuation is being published, nor is there a split between equity and debt. So it’s a little more than a ‘confidence vote’ dedicated to TravelPerk’s pre-epidemic – as you might expect, given that we all had a lockdown year.
The Series D means the 2015-based Barcelona-based startup has pulled a total of $294M to date to rebuild its leading business travel bookings towards the ‘Global SME’, after a top-up of $60M (including 2019) in the 2018 $44M Series C – Which in itself followed a $21 Series B the same year. The TravelPerk’s method is equivalent to a customer player in business travel booking (never ending customer-non-enterprise), it combines bills as “the world’s largest bookable travel inventory” – comparing users, booking and shipping trains, cars, flights, hotels and businesses.
There is a mandatory freemium level for the smallest groups. It provides 24/7 traveler support, a flexible booking option and an open API for custom integration. No funding was announced for TravelPerk in 2020, as investors took a break from the epidemic-free sector. Earlier this year, however, it told TechCrunch that by 2020, interest would pick up again.
Despite debt and equity – Series D suggests closing now VCs are getting through the worst of their travel jolts. (Another sign of this front is the raising of the $155M Series E for U.S.-based trips, which closed at $5BN valuation in January after U.S. corporate travel slipped from below 2020.)
People in TravelPerk have been bullish on speeding up and accelerating funding for ‘global growth’, as the coronavirus is hitting different parts of Europe and the United States – its two main markets – relatively advanced vaccination rollouts (especially the US) versus other parts of the world. At the time of writing, COVID-19 is suffering particularly heavily in India, where the health system appears to be spiraling out of control in the face of huge waves of infection. Parts of Latin America are also fighting.
By 2021, one-third of the epidemic is far from complete. And that creates an uncertain outlook for business travel over the next few months. The typical pre-epidemic business trip is now a zoom call, while former conference calls may be Slack’s email or group chat m and there’s no immediate reason to change, given the remote working professionals have spent a year adjusting to a rich mix of digital com tools.