Scottish travel site Skyscanner joins unicorn club with $1.6bn valuation

12 Jan 2016

Skyscanner was founded in 2001 by a group of friends frustrated with the lack of flight details for ski holidays

Edinburgh-based travel metasearch player Skyscanner has been valued at $1.6bn after it raised $192m from investors.

Skyscanner, which was founded in 2001, raised the funding from backers that include fund manager Artemis, independent investor manager Baillie Gifford and equity firm Vitruvian Partners, as well as new investors that include the Malaysian government’s strategic investment arm Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Yahoo Japan.

SAP and Sequoia are also investors in Skyscanner.

The company was founded by current CEO Gareth Williams and two friends Barry Smith and Bonamy Grimes after a frustrating experience trying to find flights to ski resorts.

Skyscanner flies high on data

The site helps people to find price comparisons for flights, hotels and car hire.

Skyscanner was previously valued at $800m following an earlier investment that saw Sequoia chairman Michael Moritz join the board.

Skyscanner is used by more than 50m people every month and competes against players like Kayak and Expedia.

The company has been moving steadily into Asia, forging partnerships with Chinese search engine Baidu and Yahoo Japan.

The company, which employs more than 700 people worldwide, saw 2014 revenues skyrocket by 42pc after it launched Skyscanner for Business to deliver data tools to the travel industry.

Airport image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years