Travel planning app Orbzii has acquired fellow U.K.-based startup Pluto for an undisclosed sum. With the transaction, Orbzii will assume ownership of Pluto’s mobile app, website and community of users.
Founded in 2018 by Alex Rainey and Harry Williams, Pluto helps travelers organize itineraries, coordinate travel plans and buy and manage travel insurance.
In May 2021, it raised £200,000 on crowdfunding platform Seedrs and became a B Corporation, meaning it has been certified by the not-for-profit B Lab as a company that had met certain social and environmental standards. Pluto has also been recognized for its diversity and inclusion efforts in the startup community.
In a letter to its customers, the company’s founders say that Orbzii is “deeply aligned” with Pluto on the future of travel planning and they are “excited to see how [Orbzii] continue to deliver on Pluto’s product vision.”
However, the letter continues: “This may not have been the original ambition we had for Pluto, but given the tough years the travel industry has been through with the pandemic, we believe this is an excellent next step for our community of users.”
Rainey and Williams add that the Pluto app “will continue to be utilized, and all of our community’s plans and content won’t go to waste.”
In a separate post on LinkedIn, Rainey explained that Pluto, which in total has raised over £1.3 million over two crowdfunding rounds, was unable to raise new investment.
“I wanted to raise our next round so badly. It was honestly a challenging and grueling 5 months on the fundraising road,” he wrote.
“I spoke with over 200 investors, with 52 pitch meetings and 10 2nd/3rd stage meetings. But no term sheet. The feedback from VCs? That we had ‘done well, but not well enough.’ The pandemic's effects on our business were too severe.”
Hear from JetBlue Technology Ventures, Thayer Ventures and others at The Phocuswright Conference 2022 in November