TravelPerk raises $160m ahead of travel’s reopening

29 Apr 2021

TravelPerk CEO Avi Meir. Image: TravelPerk

The Barcelona start-up has weathered Covid’s barrage on the travel industry and is now planning to take on the US market.

Betting on a bounce back in business travel, Barcelona’s TravelPerk has raised $160m to expand in Europe and the US.

The start-up builds a business travel management platform for finding and booking flights and accommodation and managing invoicing.

Much like the wider travel industry, business travel has been battered this past year, but TravelPerk said it retained its team of more than 500 employees during the pandemic.

The Series D round comes in the form of equity and debt, led by Greyhound Capital, as TravelPerk eyes up the reopening of travel with vaccine roll-outs and so-called ‘vaccine passports’ that are expected to allow people to travel more freely.

Existing investors DST, Kinnevik, Target Global, Felix Capital, Spark Capital, Heartcore, LocalGlobe, Amplo and 14W also participated.

Since it was founded in 2015, TravelPerk has garnered a foothold in Europe but is now looking at expanding its presence in the US. In January, it acquired US rival NexTravel, whose clients included Yelp and Stripe, in a bid to prepare for the reopening of the American travel market.

Chief executive Avi Meir said that the new landscape for business travel will require much more flexibility in booking and management.

“There will always be a need for business travel. But the events of the last year have fundamentally changed businesses’ expectations and preferences,” Meir said.

“Over the last 12 months, we’ve been constantly innovating to address the changing needs for travellers navigating the complex travel environment during Covid, and kept growing as a company during one of the worst crises the industry has ever seen – doubling our travel budget under management in this period.”

Last year, the start-up developed a new API to help companies in the travel industry to collate and manage the various travel restrictions and health protocols from country to country, and further developed its FlexiPerk product for managing last-minute cancellations.

The latest round of funding brings TravelPerk’s total funding to date to around $294m. It marks another significant funding round of late in the travel-tech space as investors gain confidence in the travel industry’s comeback.

In January, TripActions, another business travel platform, raised $155m at a $5bn valuation.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin