New start-up Layla announces €3M in funding for travel recommendation app

New start-up Layla announces €3M in funding for travel recommendation app

It's backed by, and Skyscanner's co-founders

New start-up travel discovery platform Layla has revealed it has secured €3 million in investment from a group of travel leaders, including the co-founders of and Skyscanner and entrepreneur and entertainment star, Paris Hilton. 

The funding round was led by Firstminute Capital, a venture capital set up by Brent Hoberman, co-founder of and M13. 

Layla harnesses inspirational, short-form travel video and AI-powered large language models to help users discover where to go, where to stay and what to do when they travel. By applying proprietary technology, Layla makes it simple and easy to discover your next travel destination and then plan and book trips based on stunning video content and personalised itineraries.

Its newly launched product suite includes an Instagram Travel Planner - that is activated by direct messaging and already has more than 400,000 followers - and the free-to-use Layla app which allows users to discover places to go, book their travel and accommodation, and learn about destinations, all in one place.

Layla bridges the gap of connecting social travel inspiration with all elements of the booking process. 

The Layla app answers any queries the user has from flight prices, to cultural insights to weather specifics.

It was co-founded by Jeremy Jauncey, who founded Beautiful Destinations in 2012 and Saad Saeed, who was previously the chief technology officer and co-founder of Europe's fastest-ever unicorn, German grocery delivery firm Flink.

Jauncey amassed a community of over 50 million followers, 1,500 creators and millions of pieces of travel content over 10 years, which is "turbo-charging" Layla's content and data, while Saeed scaled the company to over 10,000 employees, with his expertise in AI, technology, and building fast-growth scaleups, which complements Jauncey’s travel and social media expertise. 

Together they shared the view that billions of dollars of travel transactions were originating in the social ecosystem but "never being capitalised on". 

The team is then bolstered by Alex Gisbert, MD of XEA as a consultant and Sardar Bali, who ran an independent product firm working with various Fortune 500 companies and European Unicorns, and leads the product.

Aside from the backing of US-based venture capital firm M13, the company also has backing from Firstminute Capital’s, as well as Brent Hoberman, co-founder Andy Phillips and Skyscanner's co-founder Barry Smith, along with Paris Hilton.

Jauncey said: "Travel discovery has been broken for decades. People today get inspired by short-form videos on social media first and foremost, but there is no way to turn this inspiration into a trip. 

"We want to help users discover the perfect places by bridging the gap between social media, planning and booking."

Saaed added: “With a few simple swipes of your finger, you can ask Layla to find Maldives-like beaches in a destination that is more affordable and is not inundated with tourists. 

"From a few simple Instagram DM exchanges, Layla will suggest the best flights, accommodation and activities in line with your budget and interests, alongside accompanying video content. 

"Visual search is the future of travel for younger consumers. Our product gives users exactly what they want, in a medium they like to consume and on platforms where they spend most of their time."

Brent Hoberman, co-founder and general partner of Firstminute Capital, said: "Jeremy and Saad are building the future of travel discovery, innovating in content, social media and AI in a way I've never seen before. We're proud and excited to back their journey with Layla."

The Layla app is now available on iOS and Android.