Firm has gone on an acquisition spree and is seeing growth following the pandemic
Bookaway Group raises $35m Series C to digitise $157bn ground transport sector
European ground transport specialist Bookaway Group has completed a $35 million Series C round as it strives to digitalise the $157 billion sector.
The company says it is solving one of the last remaining problems in travel tech by making it as easy for travellers to search, shop, book and pay for ground transport as flights as hotels.
Following four acquisitions in the previous twelve months, the group consists of Bookaway.com, 12Go, GetByBus and Plataforma 10.
These B2C digital brands allow travellers 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 Series C round brings the total raised so far to over $80 million.
Existing investors Aleph, Corner Ventures and Entrée Capital also participated in the round. Red Dot’s managing partner Barak Salomon has joined Bookaway Group’s board.
The Series C comes after April sales tracking 50% above 2019 numbers as the travel industry continues to bounce back from the COVID pandemic. Bookings in Asia-Pacific have grown by 10% 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.”
In addition to acquisitions, Bookaway Group will also use the latest funding to provide new financial models and operational tools that support operators’ recovery from the pandemic more quickly, while improving day-to-day fleet management and profitability.
Toister added: “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 B2B business by becoming the go-to API for all travel brands that want to add ground transport alongside flights and hotels.”
Bookaway says ground transportation remains a fragmented market worth $157 billion, of which an estimated 90% is still transacted offline through physical shops or kiosks.
The firm believes that it will become a $10 billion business by making it easy and transparent for travelers to book buses in advance.
It claims to be the world’s 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 (originally founded in 2017) 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.