Bookaway Group has raised $35 million in a ‘series C’ funding round, with the cash to be used to accelerate its mission to digitalise the $157 billion ground transportation industry.
The company is solving what it sees as “one of the last remaining problems” in travel technology by making it as easy for travellers to search, shop, book and pay for ground transport as it is for flights or hotels.
Following four acquisitions in the previous twelve months, the group is currently made up of Bookaway.com, 12Go, GetByBus and Plataforma 10 - consumer-facing digital brands that allow travelers to book buses, private transfers, ferries and trains in advance and online.
The group has also invested in proprietary technology for bus and coach operators.
Led by Red Dot Capital Partners with investment from Tel Aviv listed insurance giant Menorah and New York based Tenere Capital, the new funding brings the total raised so far to over $80 million, with existing investors Aleph, Corner Ventures and Entrée Capital also participating in the round.
Red Dot’s managing partner, Barak Salomon, will join the Bookaway Group board.
The series C comes on the back of strong performance, with the group’s April sales tracking 50 per cent above 2019 numbers as the travel industry continues to bounce back from the pandemic.
Bookings in Asia-Pacific have grown by ten per cent week over week since the beginning of this year.
Noam Toister, chief executive of Bookaway Group, said: “Helping people to easily book buses, trains and ferries is travel’s final frontier and the prize is a slice of this enormous market.
“We expect to continue our acquisition strategy with a view to becoming the only player able to offer complete ground transport inventory globally.
“We complement acquisitions with an operating strategy that prioritizes organic growth in everything we do.”
He continued: “Our sales come primarily from travelers booking on our own sites today but we’re confident the technology we’re developing, and operator partnerships we’re building, mean we can grow our business-to-business business by becoming the go-to API for all travel brands that want to add ground transport alongside flights and hotels.”
In addition to acquisitions, Bookaway Group will also use the latest funding to provide new financial models and operational tools that support operators in recovering from the pandemic more quickly, while improving day-to-day fleet management and profitability.
Ground transportation remains a fragmented market worth circa $157 billion, of which an estimated 90 per cent is still transacted offline through physical shops or kiosks.
Bookaway Group believes that it will become a $10 billion business by making it easy and transparent for travelers to book buses in advance.
It is already a leading aggregator of ground transportation, making more than 1.5 million products from over 7,000 operators available in more than 100 markets, which travellers book through its four consumer brands.
The Bookaway Group was formed in 2021 when the founders of Bookaway.com were confronted by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
With bookings at near-zero, the decision was taken to raise capital to acquire competitors across the world to form a global technology company dedicated to ground transport.
Acquisitions of 12Go and GetByBus ensured the group a number one presence in Asia Pacific and eastern Europe respectively.