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- Exclusive: Firsthand insights into a South Korean Unicorn. Earlier this month, we had the privilege of conducting an exclusive interview with Jong Yoon Kim, the visionary CEO driving the success of Yanolja Cloud. In this engaging conversation, he shared invaluable details about their transformation from an OTA to a pioneering super-app, overcoming hurdles to achieve unicorn status. We gained firsthand insights into their journey, exploring the complexities of balancing customer needs, investor interests, and stakeholder expectations. Moreover, we delved into how Yanolja effectively navigates the dynamic travel industry landscape while prioritizing the utmost importance of customer data privacy and security. We are providing FutureTravel subscribers firsthand with an exclusive peek into the world of one of the world’s fastest-growing travel tech companies, guided by the CEO Jong Yoon Kim himself.
- Tour ops are going digital. Icelandic startup PaxFlow has secured $2.2 million in seed funding to revolutionize tour operator operations. PaxFlow provides tour operators with technology to automate processes and streamline behind-the-scenes booking management. The funding will support product development and international sales and marketing efforts. PaxFlow’s beta software has already been utilized by companies serving travelers from over 100 countries, with ongoing testing by hundreds of operators worldwide.
- Non-obvious fashion & travel partnership. WeRoad, the European travel scaleup focusing on millennial travelers, announced its collaboration with Vans. As part of the agreement, WeRoad joins Vans’ experiential loyalty program offering members insider information, exclusive designs, members-only experiences, and the ability to redeem points. This partnership was sparked by Vans’ response to fans’ desire for more experiential benefits, leading them to team up with WeRoad for unique member-only experiences.
- New opportunities for campers. Spot2Nite, an OTA catering to the campground industry, has closed a $3 million Series A funding round. With the funds, the startup plans to expand its core team and allocate additional resources to support existing and upcoming property management system integrations. Spot2Nite’s user-friendly platform connects campers to their perfect spots, providing travelers and campgrounds with a hassle-free booking experience.
- Riding growth overseas. Berlin-based startup Rydes has raised €3.5 million in seed funding to expand its corporate mobility budget platform internationally. The investment will fuel Rydes’ growth outside of Germany, including the United States, while enhancing its all-in-one mobility solution. By replacing company cars with a monthly employee budget, Rydes enables seamless transportation options through its app. The platform integrates with HR, payroll, and tax systems, streamlining administrative processes and delivering cost and time savings for businesses.
- Acquisition and German steps. Tech-powered short-term rental operator Bob W has entered the German market by acquiring Charly Hospitality. Bob W offers contactless, five-star service in locally-designed apartments across Europe. With the acquisition, Bob W adds seven properties in Germany and Amsterdam to its portfolio. The companies’ shared tech-enabled approach and design ethos facilitate seamless integration. Bob W aims to expand quickly, with Germany becoming its largest market by the end of 2023.
- Boosting food tourism in Japan. Japan-based startup Tablecross has raised $2.24 million in Series A funding for its food tourism platform, ByFood.com. The platform assists English-speaking visitors in Japan with finding original food experiences, gourmet products, and making restaurant reservations. ByFood.com has witnessed remarkable growth in monthly gross merchandise value since Japan reopened its borders. With the new capital, Tablecross aims to improve its offerings and plans to invest in recruitment, marketing, and technological integrations. This funding positions Tablecross to strengthen its global food tourism market presence.