Despite ongoing travel restrictions around Europe, Omio’s platform has raised $100m to help travellers find information on rail, bus, flights, ferries, rental cars and car-sharing options as they take advantage of attractions at home.
Although the travel and hospitality sectors have suffered greatly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and its associated travel restrictions, there are a number of start-ups and companies still raising funding to prepare for the industry’s bounce back.
Among the companies in the industry raising funding are Airbnb, Irish travel-tech start-ups Rove and TripAdmit, and more recently, Berlin-based Omio.
On Wednesday (19 August), Omio announced that its tourist transport platform has attracted $100m in investment, as the firm tries to strengthen its position during the pandemic.
The funding comes from new and existing investors, including Temasek, Kinnevik, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, NEA and Kleiner Perkins. In a statement, Omio said that the backing will support continued organic growth and acquisition activities while strengthening the start-up’s core offering.
According to TechCrunch, the firm has raised more than $400m since its launch, including a raise of $150m in 2018.
The company, which began its life as GoEuro in 2013, was founded by Naren Shaam after he found it frustrating to plan a European backpacking trip in 2010. Omio has developed a search tool that aims to help travellers find the fastest, cheapest and best travel options for their needs.
The start-up has 27m monthly users from more than 120 countries. It provides information on rail, bus, flights, ferries, rental cars and car sharing for tourists.
Commenting on the latest round of funding, Shaam said that travel remains “an eternal need” despite the pandemic and that he is confidence that the industry will make a comeback.
“We have seen a very promising recovery of our business over the past weeks, based on the unique strength of our product which includes all modes of transport across multiple markets,” Shaam said. “Especially in Germany and France, we are already above 50pc of our pre-Covid-19 bookings despite marginal marketing spend.”
He added: “However, consumer expectations are changing and the industry will need to evolve to new standards and provide new products with a strong focus on sustainability. We will use this fresh capital to drive this change.”
Jan Kemper, managing director and chief financial officer of Omio, said that the company made an “incredible effort” to switch from growth mode to a more cost-conscious strategy within weeks.
Kemper said: “At the same time we started discussions with existing and selected new investors to make sure that we can ramp up our financial head-room for the coming years. Our strong network of financial partners has been key to our ability to manage through this challenging period and will help us quickly return into growth mode.”
The company said that the bounce back in travel bookings it has experienced has been driven by a “clear change” in consumer behaviour towards more ground transportation, combined with a shift towards app usage as consumers attempt to avoid kiosks and long queues.