Friday, July 19, 2019

EasyParcel Raises $10 Million for Delivery: Travel Startup Funding This Week - Skift

EasyParcel Raises $10 Million for Delivery: Travel Startup Funding This Week - Skift


EasyParcel Raises $10 Million for Delivery: Travel Startup Funding This Week - Skift

Posted: 18 Jul 2019 10:29 PM PDT

Each week we round up travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. Please email Travel Tech Editor Sean O'Neill at so@skift.com if you have funding news.

Since last Friday travel startups announced more than $216 million in fresh funding.

On Thursday we reported that TravelPerk had closed its $104 million Series C round, the first $44 million of which we reported on last October. Kinnevik, partners of DST Global, Target Global, Felix Capital, Sunstone, and LocalGlobe participated. The company aims to build better business travel booking tools and has focused on Europe so far.

Earlier this week, Travelstop raised $3 million in a pre-Series A round led by top-tier U.S. venture firm Accel. The Singapore-based business travel management startup is led by co-founder Prashant Kirtane and former executives Vijay Aggarwal and Altaf Dhamani, who sold their past company, Travelmob, to Airbnb competitor HomeAway in 2013.

Finally, Skift reported on Life House having raised $100 million in a fresh round of funding.

Here's this week's other funding news.

>>EasyParcel, an online booking platform for parcel delivery, has received $10.6 million in Series B funding.

AirAsia's cargo and logistics arm Teleport invested. So did Gobi Partners, a venture firm that heavily invests in travel startups.

The Penang-based online courier platform startup helps deliver small items for small and medium enterprises across AirAsia's 10,000 flights per week. The funding will enable further network expansion.

>>HostNFly, a services company for property owners and managers of short-term vacation rentals, raised $10 million in a Series A round.

Highgate Ventures led the round in the Paris-based startup, which has raised $13 million to date.

HostNFly aims to help hosts with the online marketing and physical management of units.

>>Virtway, which helps create 3D virtual experiences for events such as conferences, raised about $4.1 million (€4 million). It didn't disclose the investor names or the series type.

Virtway, launched in Spain five years ago, claims to simulate a 3D experience of events. It also lets remote attendees interact with an event via their computers or mobile devices.

>>Avian, an online platform connecting airlines and travel agencies and to digitalize sales targets and incentives, has closed $2 million funding in pre-seed funding.

Village Global, Journey Ventures, and some angel investors participated. CEO and co-founder Mickey Haslavsky previously co-founded RapidAPI, a marketplace for application programming interfaces. CTO Oran Epelbaum was formerly a CTO at a large cybersecurity startup.

In brief, airlines often incentivize travel agencies with commissions. But the incentive process is typically managed manually. As a result, online travel agencies and travel management companies must cope with dozens of contracts. Avian scans and tracks these contracts, matching them with their sales performance.

CEO Haslavsky ultimately aims to enable airlines to run incentive campaigns via online platforms tailored by route, region, or other variables. He intends to build a tool that could communicate these real-time offers to a travel agency more quickly than today's processes can.

>>SignAll, whose technology translates American Sign Language to spoken and written English to help the deaf and hard of hearing, has raised about $1.9 million (€1.7 million) in its second round of financing to date that, while not specified, was approximately equivalent to a Series A.

Hiventures led the round, with past investor Credo Ventures also participating.

SignAll has raised about $3.6 million (€3.2 million) in equity investment to date.

The Budapest-based company has 20 full-time in-house employees.

CEO Zsolt Robotka said the company had piloted its technology at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, and other projects in Houston and Salt Lake City. Its primary focus is the U.S. market to start.

Skift Cheat Sheet:
We define a startup as a company formed to test and build a repeatable and scalable business model. Few companies meet that definition. The rare ones that do often attract venture capital. Their funding rounds come in waves.

Seed capital is money used to start a business, often led by angel investors and friends or family.

Series A financing is typically drawn from venture capitalists. The round aims to help a startup's founders make sure that their product is something that customers truly want to buy.

Series B financing is mainly about venture capitalist firms helping a company grow faster, or scale up. These fundraising rounds can assist with recruiting skilled workers and developing cost-effective marketing.

Series C financing is ordinarily about helping a company expand, such as through acquisitions. In addition to VCs, hedge funds, investment banks, and private equity firms often participate.

Series D, E and beyond These mainly mature businesses and the funding round may help a company prepare to go public or be acquired. A variety of types of private investors might participate.

Check out Skift's Top Travel Startups to Watch in 2019, here.

Photo Credit: EasyParcel, an online booking platform for parcel delivery, has received $10.6 million in Series B funding. EasyParcel

Three Ways To Attract Diverse Financing Sources For Your Startup - Forbes

Posted: 09 Jul 2019 12:00 AM PDT

You need to possess the skills of a ninja, James Bond and Captain America all in one if you want to win and get ahead in today's competitive world. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. You have to be able to maximize shareholder value without compromising the mission and ethical and moral values of your organization. I offer my insights based on my experiences with dozens of unique projects, disruptive startups and influential large companies in over 60 countries around the world.

There are three pillars of attracting diverse financing sources while building a lean startup primed for hyper-growth:

1. Focus on removing risk and creating equity value from the beginning while proving your business model on a small scale with strategically valuable players.

It pays big to see the big picture, but it pays faster if you can start with small successes in the early days. Do not try to build the best product or service as your first goal. Rather, focus on being the best in two or three aspects of the most desirable features of what the market is asking for, not just what you and your team think is best.

2. Select well-established vendors with strategic value that, in addition to scalability, can offer expertise, networking and reasonable rates.

Find people who share your vision and are willing to help you grow and not just roll corporate policies in front of you. Think of them as one of your departments, closely working with you on a daily and weekly basis so they know how you are progressing and where you need their help the most. This way, you can significantly reduce your overhead and still work with some of the best experts in the industry who do not rely on your business alone to stay ahead.

3. Sizable commercial bank lending is unavailable for most startups.

Seek all finance options as early as possible, from angel and venture capital investors to intellectual property asset lenders and investment banks. Prepare a set of documents tailored for each audience and transaction, making them quickly and easily updatable with smart digital content management. Get the best tools and apps available on the market, but don't spend big on too many features, regardless of how attractive they sound. Select the most important things you need to reach your next milestones, and minimize equity dilution and maximize value creation by removing risks. Attack those risks on a daily basis.

I launched one of my group's existing companies in the healthcare field. Our small team had to come up with the unusual start for any biotech; we had to find the shortest way to generate revenue from product sales without FDA approval while improving equity valuation so investors would find the deal attractive, not just for the technology or the large market potential, but for how we demonstrated execution of our own plans. An amazing hypothetical value proposition is just that: hypothetical. Financing sources want to review historical data standing on strong legs that are growing. I know that is hard for a startup to obtain, but that must be your first mission after your grand vision.

The more benefits you claim, the fewer people are willing to believe your business and your tech can execute on all of them, so you'll need to obtain more proof, which usually takes more time and resources. Our opportunity only grew as we learned more. This may sound like a great problem to have, but it makes it difficult to explain effectively without sounding like a snake oil salesperson. If that's your situation, how do you focus on your best possible option in terms of funding and commercial results? The answer is to develop several backup plans. Most theories fail the test of practical application, and if you just try to pivot on the go, you forfeit your advantage against your competitors. Giving up this advantage can even lead to the sudden death of your company if you run out of money too soon or you simply cannot reach your goals. Tesla and its many troubles provide an example of this type of challenge.

In our case, massive advances in diagnostics and clinical trials have emerged during the past decade to further cement the need for our product. Without these advances, it would be much more difficult to fund and develop our startup, and we probably would have gone out of business due to the exorbitant costs of standard clinical trials. The lesson here is that you have to position your company for the world to catch up around you, and you must be ready to act at any moment.

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