US and India-based Headout Inc., which operates a marketplace for local experiences for travellers, has raised $10 million (around Rs 68 crore) in a Series A round of funding from existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and Version One Ventures, the company said in a statement.
The startup will invest the capital in its inventory and data systems to digitise and standardise last-minute experiences. After running a pilot last quarter, the firm will launch its flagship branded experiences platform across several markets this year, the statement added.
“From day one, our ambition has been to help people discover the lively beat of our cities and connect them with experiential events and fascinating activities around us. Our focus is on understanding the city and going deep in a category rather than spreading ourselves thin across the globe,” co-founder Varun Khona said in the press note.
Founded in 2015 by Khona, Vikram Jit Singh and Suren Sultania, Headout connects travellers with locals who offer curated experiences in their neighbourhood, all through an app. It currently serves 15 cities across 3 continents, including Paris, New York, Singapore and more. It has offices in Bangalore, New York, London, Dubai, and Berlin. The app is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.
Over the next 18 months, the firm plans to expand to 100 cities across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Until now, Headout was available to users only in English but the company has launched services in French, German and Spanish in select markets.
The startup claims to be profitable and has grown its revenue 8 times in the last 12 months.
In 2015, Headout raised $1.8 million in a seed round led by Version One Ventures with participation from AngelList, Nexus Venture Partners, FundersClub, Ludlow Ventures and a few angels.
Khona, who has previously worked with investment bank Goldman Sachs, is the chief executive officer of the startup. He previously founded another travel startup called Trippy.co.in.
Singh, Headout’s chief technology officer, is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, while Sultania, the chief operating officer, is a management graduate from HEC School of Management, Paris.
Deals in the travel-tech space
A number of startups in the broader travel space have garnered investor interest.
In April this year, Delhi-based online travel marketplace TripShelf topped up its pre-Series A round by raising Rs 1.6 crore (around $246,000) from a group of investors.
In the same month, Mihuru Pvt. Ltd, which gives micro loans for air travel through its online platform, raised $150,000 (Rs 99.3 lakh) in seed funding from entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals.
Around the same time, holiday-packages marketplace TravelTriangle secured $12 million (Rs 78 crore) in a Series C round led by growth capital firm The Fundamentum Partnership. The investment firm was floated by Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and Helion Ventures co-founder Sanjeev Aggarwal.
In March, corporate travel management platform Tripeur raised $600,000 (Rs 3.90 crore) in a pre-Series A round led by Japan-based Incubate Fund. Existing investor Rajul Garg and a few other angels also participated in the round.