Could travel be the Nordics next hottest vertical?

I have written a fair few times that over the last twelve months that I believe Fintech has become worthy enough of mentioning alongside Enterprise SaaS, Health and Wellness and Gaming as a vertical that the Nordics are excelling in, but now it appears we may soon have another contender on our hands.

Other than Enterprise SaaS, no other vertical had more startups raise money in the Nordics in Q1 2015 than travel (all seed rounds).


Established players

Nordic startups love of solving problems in the travel sector has not just happened over night though, with this new generation joining a fair number of more established Nordic startups operating in this vertical.

Y-combinator backed Airhelp continue to be a nuisance to the airline industry, allowing passengers to easily claim back money they are entitled to from delayed or cancelled flights. Bownty, although since expanded to encompass 'experiences', offer daily deals for travel, and are going from strength to strength, including buying Spanish competitor Yunait in 2014. And perhaps most notably, there is Momondo,  the travel search engine that enables users to find and compare prices on airplane tickets, hotels, cars and travel that had Great Hill Partners buy a majority stake in valuing it at $210M.


But what of the new crowd?

Yaneeda lets you request and buy your holidays from the same companies that travel agents normally buy from, essentially attempting to remove travel agents (and therefore, their fees) from the booking process. To date they have raised a $667K seed round, back in October of last year.

Nustay aims to present travellers better booking rates, by offering the hotels a way to submit unique offers to each individual guest, either manually or automatically, at a discounted rate. Nustay created a bit of a buzz in Denmark when they announced their undisclosed seed round, claiming they now had the highest valuation of any Danish startup at seed.

CreateTrips from Finland is a social trip planner that offers travellers and locals travel guides, maps, reviews, and more. To date they have raised $2.2M from two rounds and are operating in some interesting markets, including Barbados, Bermuda, New Zealand, Qatar, and Uganda.

Kaptio is a CRM and booking engine for the Travel and Hospitality industry hailing from Iceland. They raised a $890K seed round at the beginning of this year.


Trends within the trend

  • Of the seven startups mentioned in this article, five originate from Denmark. 
  • Seed rounds in travel startups appear to be pretty low, with an average of $916,00 compared to Q1's average of $1.28M.



While four seed rounds in one quarter is not anywhere near enough to put it in the same bracket as Fintech, Enterprise SaaS, Gaming and Health it is a strong indication that there is a early trend in Nordic startups building (and attracting investment) in this vertical, enough to hint at this being something we should keep our eye on, especially if this new round of startups can go on to raise further funding and impact the travel industry as much as Bownty, Airhelp and Momondo have done already.

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