Puma Private Equity leads £8.3 million Series B round for global travel marketplace, TravelLocal
Puma Private Equity has led the £8.3m series B investment round into global tailor-made holidays brand and managed marketplace, TravelLocal. Existing investors, Active Partners and Gresham House Ventures also participated in the round and the investment will help to accelerate the company’s international growth.
TravelLocal is a global brand and receives bookings from clients worldwide, as a managed marketplace. It is growing rapidly, as travellers demand genuinely authentic, more sustainable holidays and prioritise spending on experiences, annual bookings are over USD 50m and are growing over 100% year on year. The new additional funding will support the company’s international growth, including investment in its managed marketplace platform and further brand marketing (including broadcasting its latest TV advert “Global Travel, Local Experts”).
TravelLocal’s innovative model is revolutionising tailor-made holidays, by connecting its customers directly with handpicked, trusted local travel experts based in their destination – who know their country better than anyone. This combines the benefits of human advice from vetted local experts, the convenience of being able to book online and full consumer financial protection (through ABTA and ATOL in the UK). Since the business was founded in 2016, TravelLocal has helped more than 70,000 customers create the perfect trip.
The TravelLocal platform enables bookings with over 500 individual local travel experts around the world, who create truly personalised itineraries directly with and for the client. They work in 271 curated partner companies and are the ‘hidden stars’ of the legacy travel industry, to whom clients now have direct access by booking with TravelLocal. They have extensive experience of advising international clients. Many travellers care deeply about making their holidays more responsible and sustainable, and TravelLocal’s approach helps to fulfil this, by enabling direct access. By dealing directly with experts in locally incorporated companies, who know and care passionately about their communities and ecosystems, more client spend remains in the local economy of the destination.
This Series B funding round follows the highly successful merger in July 2021 of TravelLocal (UK) and Trip.me (Germany), both now fully integrated under the TravelLocal brand. TravelLocal has offices in Bristol and Berlin with colleagues also working remotely across the world.
Active Partners and Gresham House Ventures also invested in this round, making this their third investment in the company following the Series A and the merger in 2021. Channel 4 Ventures also recently increased its media-for-equity investment. Alistair Daly, former CMO of listed holidays disruptor brand On the Beach Plc, is a Board Advisor and investor in the business.
“Although incomes are being squeezed in the current environment, travel continues to be a priority expenditure for many and baby boomers are spending $120 billion annually on leisure travel. We believe there is huge scope for TravelLocal to grow and continue transforming the tailor-made holiday industry.
“We are really encouraged by the strength of the management team and the resilience of the business post its merger in 2021 which has significantly increased its global reach. This investment will enable the team to do more to engage with their target audience, in particular their expanding base of US clients.”
Tom Stapleton, CEO, TraveLocal
“TravelLocal has performed very strongly again coming out of the pandemic as people travel extensively – and increasingly with a strong desire to do so in a more sustainable, meaningful way, that supports local people and economies. Our unique business model enables everyone to do just that. This funding round reflects the excellent growth opportunity we now have, and the first class team we have built to tackle it.”
Mark Hudson, Executive Chairman of TravelLocal
“We are very happy with the ongoing support of our growth investors Active Partners and GHV, who were hugely supportive through the pandemic, and delighted to welcome Puma Private Equity into this exciting next stage of our journey. This funding round is a validation of the amazing company we are building, and the passion and hard work our team puts in to delight our customers every day.”