New York-based Skylark Travel has raised $4 million in seed
round financing led by 25Madison, an organization that identifies and
accelerates early stage startups. The round also includes investments from additional
firms including Ovation Travel Group, BCD Travel, Bessemer Venture Partners,
Vectr Ventures and Clarim Holdings.
Launched in 2017, Skylark Travel is a hybrid agency that combines
on-demand, personalized service from agents with a DIY search and booking platform.
It is focused on serving luxury travelers in the 35- to 55-year age range who
are comfortable using technology to do some travel planning on their own but
who also want help from skilled agents as necessary.
The company says about 80% of its customers make a buying
decision using the self-service features, but all customers interact with
agents at some point, for example to arrange dinners or activities.
"The Skylark vision is not just about enabling a better
booking experience. It is about creating exceptional vacations through better
pricing and amenities for hotel and airfare, and a unique combination of unrivaled
service and high-tech trip-planning tools,” says founder and CEO Paul Tumpowsky.
Subscribe to our newsletter below
Skylark Travel has private contracts with airlines including
American, Delta, United, British Airways and Emirates that allow it to offer
its clients savings on business class airfare. It also works with about 1,500
luxury hotels and resorts around the world.
"We've been deeply involved with the travel industry
the past three decades,” says Kirk Posmantur, co-founder of 25Madison.
"We believe that Skylark will become the global trusted
source for aspirational and high-net-worth travelers seeking extraordinary
benefits and services at four- and five-star hotels and resorts around the
world. Add in our strategic air partners and you have a truly unique one-stop
Tumpowsky says the company has seen eight times growth in
the past two years, and its average customer uses the platform for 1.9 trips annually,
which he says is much higher than the industry average.
Skylark will use the new funding for product development and