“Experience commerce” platform Easol has raised $4.5 million to prepare for a boom in activities demand as destinations recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Notion Capital led the round, with participation from Y Combinator, Foundation Capital, Slow Ventures and Micheal Zeisser, former chairman of U.S. investments at Alibaba.
London-based Easol is a SaaS platform that supports experiences businesses such as adventure trips, wellness retreats, festivals, sports and food and drink activities and gives them control over driving more direct sales, retaining more revenue and owning their data.
Easol eliminates the need for providers to outsource their business to traditional e-commerce platforms, booking platforms or experience marketplaces such as GetYourGuide or Airbnb.
Although 2020 proved a challenging year for tours and activities companies, the sector is expected to flourish once consumers are free to travel again.
According to Easol, the platform saw its largest-ever month in booking and process volume following news of the COVID-19 vaccine, up 25% from pre-pandemic figures.
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Easol has also grown the number of experience creators using the platform by 20% month-over-month and is on track to see 6X growth this year.
“For too long, experience creators have been stitching together ineffective tools, manually tracking bookings, paying third-party booking fees and investing heavily in custom solutions. None of these tools were designed for experiences to be sold by those who made them,” says Easol CEO Ben Simpson, who founded the company in 2017 with his wife, Lisa.
“Our mission is to make Easol the first experience commerce platform that puts the technology, the ownership and the possibilities in the hands of the experience creator.”
With the funding round, Easol will accelerate the development of its platform software, onboard new hires and double-down on its 2021 go-to-market strategy with a new brand identity.
Easol’s platform can support businesses of any size from large-scale experiences to startups. Its customers include Ibiza Rocks, Global Cycle Network and Envision Festival.