Abu Dhabi-headquartered DHARMA, a travel startup, has netted $4.7 million in an oversubscribed pre-Series A funding. With this investment, the total funding raised by the company accounts for $10 million. In the post-COVID world, this investment has created an opportunity for disruption in the travel industry.
The round was led by San Francisco-based Convivialite Ventures (that invested in Atmosfy), with notable participation from marketplace-focused FJ Labs, Equinox and Soul Cycle owner Stephen Ross, and media behemoth Liontree. Other notable investors and angels include Mubadala-backed Shorooq Partners, Matt Higgins from Shark Tank, football icon Eric Cantona, consumer fund Goodwater and Skift founder Rafat Ali.
This investment will allow DHARMA to continue expanding its roster of world-class creators to offer multi-day travel experiences in new verticals such as culinary, sports, fashion and lifestyle tourism.
Charaf El Mansouri, CEO and Co-Founder at DHARMA said, “We’re proud of being based in the UAE, one of the most future-forward travel markets in the world, but equally proud that what we do has resonated with investors globally. The idea that you could seamlessly book your next trip hosted by your favorite chef, surfer, or fitness instructor is both universal and extremely personal.”
“Our goal is to continue attracting and retaining the most inspiring people and brands in the world by enabling them to create and host authentic travel experiences for their communities,” said Nisma Benani, CRO and Co-Founder at DHARMA. “It’s not just about creating an exciting and meaningful new revenue stream for creators, it’s also about nurturing their community and creating moments of IRL connection.”
“The team at Convivialite Venture is thrilled to support DHARMA’s next phase of growth as they look to become the key player in the passion travel space,” said Wendy Wattebled, Partner at Convivalite Ventures. “We believe in their vision of connecting the world through the power of shared experience.”
Plans and sells multi-day trip
Founded by Nisma Benani, Charaf El Mansouri, and Leah Howe in the UAE in 2021, DHARMA, plans and sells trips hosted by the world’s most inspiring people and brands. It has a remote-native team with backgrounds in some of the most exciting tech and travel companies on earth such as Uber, Airbnb, Equinox, Butterfield & Robinson, and G Adventures.
It recently entered into a partnership with Paramount Global to launch “Paris by Emily,” the first official travel experience for hit Netflix series, Emily in Paris. DHARMA’s marketplace for passion-based travel offers unique multi-day travel experiences, including a football derby with icon Eric Cantona, summiting the highest peak in North Africa with Equinox or discovering Paris by Emily with Ines Tazi.