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German AI travel tech scores €3M with Paris Hilton,, Skyscanner and co-founders as investors

Layla founders Jeremy Jauncey and Saad Saeed. Image credits; Layla

From Leonardo DiCaprio to Lance Armstrong, celebrities are dabbling in the travel startup sector and putting their money and influence behind new brands. The latest one is Paris Hilton! The star and entrepreneur has put her money into Germany’s AI-powered travel tech startup Layla.

The Berlin-based travel discovery platform has announced a €3M investment from co-founder of (Andy Phillips) and Skyscanner (Barry Smith), and Paris Hilton. The funding round was led by Firstminute Capital (set up by Brent Hoberman, co-founder of travel industry titan and US consumer technology fund M13.

The AI-powered travel discovery and booking app was founded by Jeremy Jauncey, who also founded Beautiful Destinations and Saad Saeed, co-founder of grocery delivery unicorn, Flink. Together they are working to capitalise on streamlining the disjointed process most people go through, between being inspired and booking their trip.

 “Travel discovery has been broken for decades,” says Jauncey. “People today get inspired by short-form videos on social media first and foremost, but there is no way to turn this inspiration into a trip. We want to help users discover the perfect places by bridging the gap between social media, planning and booking.”

Fusing social media influence with AI for seamless travel planning

The prevailing trend in travel discovery leans heavily on social media, with approximately 75% of individuals drawing travel inspiration from platforms like Instagram and TikTok, according to a 2023 Global Travel Trends Report conducted by American Express. Despite this influence, converting social media inspiration into meticulously planned trips often proves to be an arduous task, typically consuming more than 10 hours over a span of two to three weeks, and often involves navigating through multiple platforms and websites.

Layla, however, seeks to streamline this process by using AI to function as a conduit between social media inspiration and the comprehensive trip planning experience. The platform introduces users to an array of destinations, aiding in trip planning, and facilitating bookings based on engaging short-form vertical video content and tailored itineraries. The product suite encompasses the Layla app, a free-to-use platform enabling users to explore, book travel and accommodations, and gain insights into various destinations, alongside the Instagram Travel Advisor via direct messaging.

Harnessing AI for immersive travel experiences

The technology employed by Layla leverages AI-powered large language models and short-form travel videos to offer users a holistic view of their travel options. Through a fusion of advanced technology and a comprehensive data bank amassed from Beautiful Destinations, Layla crafts an immersive experience by presenting highly relevant destination suggestions coupled with visually captivating short vertical videos, tailored for the individual.

Expressing his enthusiasm for Layla’s mission, co-founder Saad Saeed articulated, “With a few simple swipes of your finger, you can ask Layla to find Maldives-like beaches in a destination that is more affordable and is not inundated with tourists. From a few simple Instagram DM exchanges, Layla will suggest the best flights, accommodation, and activities in line with your budget and interests, alongside accompanying video content. Visual search is the future of travel for younger consumers. Our product gives users exactly what they want, in a medium they like to consume and on platforms where they spend most of their time.”

Industry heavyweights’ confidence and global aspirations

This strategic investment not only signifies the confidence of industry titans like Brent Hoberman, Andy Phillips, Barry Smith, and Paris Hilton in Layla’s vision but also reflects the company’s global aspirations through the backing of U.S.-based venture capital firm M13.

Brent Hoberman, co-founder, and General Partner of Firstminute Capital, shared his excitement about Layla’s innovation, “Jeremy & Saad are building the future of travel discovery, innovating in content, social media and AI in a way I’ve never seen before. We’re proud and excited to back their journey with Layla.”

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