Travel and tourism are returning online after the restrictions on Covid-19 were eased, and today a start-up company that handles part of the equation for moving from home to destination has announced some funding to take advantage of it. Bookaway, which has built a platform for people to explore options and book their ground transportation – long-distance travel to a hotel or other destination, with about 7,000 suppliers listed at the time – has raised $ 35 million.

The Tel Aviv-based startup Series C is run by Red Dot Capital Partners. Menorah, a Tel Aviv-based insurance company, and New York-based Tenere Capital, along with former supporters Aleph, Corner Ventures and Entrée Capital, are also involved. The company has not disclosed its valuation, but has so far raised $ 81 million.

The tourism industry sometimes feels that it is in a constant state of consolidation: partly due to price pressures due to the slowdown in the last few years; rising fuel prices; and general competition, companies such as Airbnb or Booking, airlines and hotel groups are incorporating more services into their offerings in an effort to improve their margins and bring more economies of scale to their operations.

But Noam Toyster, CEO and founder of Bookaway, believes ground transportation remains a huge opportunity, largely because of how offline and fragmented it is, including when traveling to remote or exotic locations.

“Our group was born during the COVID-19 pandemic, based on a shared belief that the land transport industry will better meet the needs of passengers when united rather than fragmented,” he said. The company has already made four acquisitions that highlight how part of this defragmentation will be consolidated in the specific area of ​​land transport itself. Originally founded to provide services in Asia such as Bookaway.com, when bookings collapsed, it began raising money to buy other similar challenging businesses to support when the tide reverses: followed by acquisitions of 12Go and GetByBus. to expand in Asia Followed by Pacific and the Balkans, and then Plataforma 10 in Argentina.

In total, the company has gathered thousands of suppliers – most of them independent and many local companies – on a platform that passengers can use to book their trips in advance, with suppliers including buses, ferries, trains, private transport options and more. . . Digitizing this experience is a big undertaking and a change in itself: about 95% of land transport providers are “offline” according to Toister, and there are about 10,000 worldwide of what is a total annual market of $ 157 billion. “If you travel the world, you book flights and hotels, but most destinations still don’t have an airport,” he said, meaning transport from the airport to the hotel is a transition, “and it’s hard to book transportation right now. ”

He notes that Uber and companies like it are not currently seen as competitors, although Uber has recently begun to enter this market, posing a potential threat or perhaps a partner. “It’s heasy to connect with 7,000 transport companies worldwide, ”said Toyster.

“This is an experienced management team that has developed successful travel technology companies before,” said Barak Saloman, managing partner, Red Dot Capital Partners, in a statement. “With a complex task such as the globalization of land transport, you need local knowledge, technological experience and industry experience. Bookaway Group has all three and they are committed to winning this market. ”

Bookaway books $35M to scale up its ground transportation booking platform

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