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TravelPerk defies pandemic travel disruption to secure unicorn status, zips $115M

TravelPerk founder, Avi Meir
Image credit: TravelPerk

TravelPerk has closed its latest funding round, raising an additional $115 million and confirming its unicorn status with a valuation of $1.3 billion. The Series D funding added to the $160 million raised in April 2021, and takes the total raised by all rounds to $409 million.

Given the disastrous impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the travel industry, the investment reflects significant confidence not just in an end of lockdowns, but also in TravelPerk’s strategy and positions as an industry leader. The funding round was led by General Catalyst, a new investor, and Kinnevik. Gillian Tans, Booking.com’s former CEO who personally invested in TravelPerk, and Joel Cutler from General Catalyst are joining the board as part of the investment.

Growth during the pandemic

TravelPerk adopted a no-layoff strategy during the pandemic, helping it retain and secure a high-quality team, and completed a series of acquisitions to consolidate its position. It began 2021 with the acquisition of US rival NexTravel and added UK business travel provider Click Travel in summer.

TravelPerk also acquired Susterra, a travel sustainability firm. They aim to help make travel as sustainable as possible, calculating the emissions cost of travel and how to offset the resulting carbon footprint. It has also adapted to the new reality of hybrid working, recognising that the desire for some in-person contact created a market opportunity, and launched TravelPerk Events in November. Their new brand helps teams travel to meet in person.

The Spanish company intend to help companies meet the challenges of a post-pandemic world, where staff may be working remotely, but long for real-life interactions. “While some technologies are focused on virtual interactions, TravelPerk is building the technology that will help us get together in real life,” said Avi Meir, TravelPerk’s co-founder and CEO.

Continued growth

Meir’s strategy has meant TravelPerk is a rare pandemic success story for the travel industry. It has seen its annualised revenue grow by four times since 2019 and has doubled its customer acquisition rate. It intends to use the funding to continue this growth.

TravelPerk is already the world’s largest global travel management platform, offering a 24/7 support and consumer-grade design to help businesses better manage their travel needs. The latest investment will support the continued development of its sustainable travel products, and further expansion. The business is particularly focused on the European and US markets. It has also seen success in the UK, with major customers including JustEat and Click Travel securing accreditation as a public sector travel provider through the Crown Commercial Service.

Recognising that the business travel sector will not return to 2019, Meir is already anticipating the new travel industry and how TravelPerk will fit into it. “The last two years have changed the travel industry forever, but one thing will always remain true: we have a human need to connect and meet with each other,” he says. “Our mission at TravelPerk is to connect people in real life in an enjoyable and sustainable way.”

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