Berlin-based travel marketplace Distribusion raises €30 million to make it easier to book transport online

Booking ground transportation can be a complicated process for travellers. To make it simple, by connecting travel brands with transport providers, Distribusion Technologies has just raised €30 million.

Travel tech is an incredibly exciting space in 2022. After a couple of years of transport being grounded, this year travel is back and bigger than ever and tech advancements developed over the past couple of years are now coming to fruition. One of the world’s leading ground transportation marketplaces, Distribusion, is certainly getting in on this fast-paced action having just secured €30 million in new funding. 

The capital boost for the Berlin-based startup was led by Lightrock, with participation from Creandum and Northzone. 

Founded in 2014, Distribusion is a travel tech platform providing access to different ground transportation options worldwide, empowering travellers with an improved travel experience. The B2B booking platform boasts one of the largest networks of carriers and retailers in the industry, connecting global travel brands with hundreds of bus, airport transfer,  train and ferry providers. 

Today’s ground transportation market is highly fragmented and often subject to bespoke, legacy technology when it comes to supplier schedules and booking systems. It’s meant that planning and booking scheduled journeys online are either not possible or a confusing and time-consuming experience for travellers. As a result, over 100 million ground transportation tickets are purchased offline every day. In today’s digital world, the transportation booking segment is clearly lagging behind. 

Distribusion’s B2B ground transportation marketplace tackles this issue by providing a vast array of operators from 70+ countries with instant access to its network of travel agents, meta-search websites, and other mobility platforms. Distribusion’s standardisation layer enables online retailers to sell tickets for any operator by connecting to one single API, without any individual contracts or technical effort. Consumers benefit from the resulting ability to compare and purchase tickets on the websites and apps that they know and trust. It’s a win-win situation. 

The company caught our eye back in 2016 when it picked up €6 million, and since then the team has had an exciting growth journey, including expansion to LATAM in the past two years. Since pre-covid, Distribusion has achieved an impressive 10x growth in passenger numbers and plans to connect 100 million passengers per year by the end of 2024. 

Not only is Distribuison’s platform good for travellers and travel companies, but it’s also good for the environment. Transportation accounts for nearly 20% of global CO2 emissions. Booking a trip via Distribision naturally substitutes a more pollutive mode of transport such as taxi, private car, or plane and so directly contributes to reducing  CO2 emissions from transport.

As commented by the CEO, Dr Thomas Doering: “Ground transportation often gets little attention despite having a market size larger than air passenger transport. It is the only accessible long-distance transport option for 2/3 of the world’s population. Yet, access from search to purchase and ticketing is often cumbersome and offline in most cases. With the new funding, we can connect additional carriers and new geographies, digitalizing the experience. We will bring more products to customers’ favourite online channels and help promote the most sustainable mode of transport.”

Christopher Steinau, Partner at Lightrock, added: “Distribusion is building the missing part of infrastructure that is crucial to elevate the ground transportation industry. We have been impressed by the unprecedented growth despite the tough headwinds of the global pandemic. Moreover, Distribusion is playing an essential role in driving the adoption of mass ground transportation, one of the most environmentally-friendly forms of transport, and hereby helping to reduce CO2 emissions in travel. We are excited to support the Distribusion team on its global growth ambitions benefitting carriers, retailers, travellers, and the planet.”