Group adventure travel startup YouTravel.Me has secured a $1 million funding round to bolster its presence in the United States.
Starta VC led the round, with help from co-investing platform Liqvest.com and participation from Mission Gate, Bas Godska and others.
YouTravel.Me, which launched in Europe in 2018, uses a matchmaking algorithm to connect like-minded travelers for small group adventure trips organized by travel experts.
The platform’s algorithms match travelers based on their interests, values and past experiences, and travelers can consult with experts via live chat or voice to learn more about a trip as well as other tour participants. Bookings are made via the platform for free.
YouTravel.Me offers more than 15,900 tours in more than 130 countries around the world. With the new funding, the company plans to strengthen its position in the U.S., increase gross merchandise value to $2.7 million per month by the end of 2021 and enhance its technological platform.
"We're on a mission to create a more personalized group travel experience, so travelers can bond and make meaningful connections," says Olga Bortnikova, co-founder and CEO of YouTravel.Me.
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"Through this investment, we will enhance our matchmaking technology and introduce YouTravel.Me to more clients globally, with a focus on the U.S."
Says Alexey Girin, general partner at Starta Capital: “The travel industry has significantly evolved over the past decade, and the old ways no longer resonate with the modern traveler.
“YouTravel.Me leads the way in bringing cutting-edge technology to the travel industry, offering a personalized approach to group tours. I’m inspired by YouTravel.Me's vision and see high potential for future growth opportunities as the travel landscape continues to evolve.”
Currently, there are more than 10,000 travelers and 4,200 travel experts on the YouTravel.Me platform. The company verifies each expert through a score system that looks at criteria including work experience, financial data and social media presence.