The number of online travel bookings is growing steadily from year to year pretty much since the invention of the internet. The disruption of the traditional travel industry and the shift from local travel agencies to online bookings is still a big trend but far away from beeing a secret.
Over the years, countless of startups around the world tried to take advantage of this trend and pursued new and exciting business models for the future of the travel market. In the last two decades, there were also a bunch of really successful travel-related startups that were founded in Europe. Companies like Booking.com, Travelbird, GetyourGuide and Housetrip (to name just a few).
July and August are the months people travel most, the summer heat is on, so let’s look at Europe’s hottest travel-related startups in 2015. In order to present you the “next wave” of European disruptors in online travel, we scanned the market for the most promising startups that are not older than 2-3 years. And here is our list of the hottest European travel startups of the year:
Boaterfly: Founded in 2013, Boaterfly is a peer-to-peer rental website for all kinds of nautical vehicles. Sailboats, powerboats, zodiac, windsurfs, light sailboats, kayaks, jetskis, river boats – you name it. Boaterfly, which is headquartered in a suburb of Paris, opens the door to temporary ocean and sea travelling off the beaten track. Owners turn their watercrafts profitable, while tenants enjoy fair prices and warm welcoming. Last month, Boaterfly secured a seed investment of $500K.
CreateTrips: A social trip planner that offers travellers and locals with travel guides, maps, reviews, photos, and more. CreateTrips, which was founded in 2013 in Helsinki, is a mobile application for iOs devices (Android version follows soon) and helps and inspires travelers around the globe. So far, the Finnish startup raised about $2.2 million in venture capital.
eWings.com: A Berlin-based startup offering SaaS for booking and managing flights. Founded in 2013, the mission of eWings.com is “to make it as easy as possible to find, book and manage flights via web and mobile. The ideal travel companion for the professional frequent flyer.” Flight routes are sorted by stress, weighted by cheapest price, duration and stop-overs. Last month, eWings.com secured €1.1 million in a second round of financing.
Holidu: Founded in 2014, Holidu helps you find the best holiday vacation rental accommodations from all of the leading websites in this field. You just tell them where you’d like to go and they will search far and wide so you can compare prices, user reviews and the largest selection of places from all over the world. Booking a vacation rental becomes as easy as booking a hotel. Holidu is headquartered in Munich and has so far raised about $900K in venture capital.
Snaptrip: Headquartered in London, the team behind Snaptrip aims to make it as easy as possible to find the right holiday at the right price. To be more specific, this means they always try to offer you the best range of UK and Ireland-based cottages at the best guaranteed price. Snaptrip was founded in 2014 and aims to become the UK’s leading site for last-minute breaks in self-catered holiday properties. So far, the young company raised a total of roughly $1.4 million in two financing rounds.
Startuptravels: Launched in October 2014 and headquartered in Copenhagen, Startuptravels is a new travel platform allowing users to connect with local entrepreneurs and professionals while traveling. A user can find a place to stay, a desk to work at or even just arrange a meet up for coffee. Just 9 months after its launch, Startuptravels already counts several thausand active users from more than 150 countries. So far, the Danish startup seems to have raised no seed investment yet.
Triptease: A SaaS travel company that builds digital tools that create better experiences and relationships between hotels and guests. These products include Triptease Magazine, a travel reviews app, Digital Postcards, an in-stay social media referrals tool and Price Check, a widget for hoteliers to encourage travellers to book directly. Triptease is headquartered in London and was founded in 2013. In total, the young company raised about $4.3 million in venture capital.
Trampolinn: Founded in 2014, Trampolinn describes itself as “a revolutionary home swapping community” that works through an innovative points system. Its members earn points when they receive other users at their homes, which they can exchange for free nights of accommodation wherever and whenever they want. Every accommodation has a nightly-based value in points depending on what’s available. Headquartered in Paris, Trampolinn seems to have raised no seed investment yet.
Trip4real: A trusted community platform that connects locals with travelers from all over the world. Trip4real’s simple design enables local city-dwellers to offer tours and activities in whatever they are interested in with the click of a button. The platform then connects them with thousands of travelers in search of more authentic travel experiences. The Barcelona-based company started in the beginning of 2013. In total, the ambitious team behind Trip4real already raised about $3.1 million in venture capital.
trip.me: A Berlin-based startup which offers an easy way to connect directly with local tour providers in any country you wish to visit. Trip.me’s goal is to bring the best from every country together in one place so you can quickly and easily organize your trip. Trip.me was founded in 2013 by a handful of web-savvy world travelers. They had the idea that you should be able to buy a personalized tour directly from the person organizing it. In August of 2014 they successfully closed a Series A funding round (undisclosed amout).
Tripndrive: Founded in 2013 and based in Paris, Tripndrive enables car sharing for travellers. The departing traveller gets the use of a free parking space by renting their car at low cost to another traveller. Supported by the ISAI investment fund (the early backer of Blablacar), the ambition of the Tripndrive team is to offer more people a new way to travel in Europe. A way that’s simpler, cheaper and smarter. So far, the young company secured about €800K in seed funding.
Travador.com: A Munich-based startup focusing on the rapidly growing event travel opportunity. Travador.com, which was founded in 2013, offers its clients a unique experience at unbeatable prices. Whether they are looking for wellness, music, sports or the arts – Travador always tries to offer its customers something special that turns their short trip into a unique experience. In total, Travador.com already raised about $10.5 million in venture capital.
Tiqets.com: The Amsterdam-based startup Tiqets was founded in 2013 with the mission to offer a great entertainment experience to travelers around the globe. Tiqets.com enables travel companies to offer their customers tickets for tours, theater shows, attractions, sporting events, concerts and museums across multiple touchpoints. Distribution partners like airlines, hotel chains and OTA’s integrate the direct bookable content by means of an API, emails, co-branded website or widgets. The startup also offers these tickets directly to consumers through its website. So far, Tiqets secured venture capital in the amount of roughly $1.5 million.
Wanderio: Launched in 2013, Wanderio is a web application that aims to enhance the travel experience by taking care of the user from the doorstep to the final destination. Wanderio, which is based in Rome, compares flights, trains, ferries and ground transportation services, to let the user choose and book the solution that suits him best, sorting alternatives by price, travel time, and CO2 emissions. Till date, the young company secured about $275K in seed funding.
Withlocals: An Eindhoven-based startup connecting travelers with locals through Food and Experiences. The marketplace for unique travel experiences with real locals was founded in 2013 and offers travelers new opportunities for unique travel experiences. Local hosts can offer their services directly to travelers and give them positive experiences they’ll never forget. So far, the Dutch startup received roughly $500K in seed funding.
Zizoo: Founded in the fourth quarter of 2013, Zizooboats is digitalising the boat rental industry. Out of Vienna, they are building a global digital booking platform and community, a little bit like “Booking.com for Boats” combined with an Airbnb like community model (reviews, communication, location based apps / services). Zizoo aims to make boat holidays affordable and accessible to everyone (bookings starts from €45 a day). The young platform also provides charter companies with a photo and editorial service and a powerful inventory management tool. In total, the Austrian startup secured about $450K in seed financing.
By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!
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Great list, Thomas! However, you’ve missed out on the most recent news – a P2P platform, 100% based on sharing-economy principles has made yacht holidays affordable, accessible and genuine by connecting you directly to the private boat owner (no charter agencies). Have a look and add Antlos!
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