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Travel & Mobility Tech Radar

Welcome!

Business travel is on the rise: the personal encounter is still important even in the days of virtual meetings. In Germany alone, around 183 million business trips per year lead to expenditures in the amount of 52 billion Euros – equivalent to 155 Euros per business traveler per day.

No surprise that many companies have been targeting this lucrative segment lately. But business travel is also becoming more complex as today’s traveling employees are looking for more flexible and individualized trip organization. Take the booming bleisure
market as an example: according to latest traveler surveys, 60% of business trips in 2017 turned into bleisure, meaning business trips were extended by additional days/nights for leisure purposes.

As 58% of smaller companies (in Germany) do not hire the services of travel agencies or travel management companies for their staff’s business trip organization, several startups started addressing these so called “unmanaged business travelers” with digital self-service solutions as our profile of US-based startup TripActions exhibits (see below).

Enjoy the read.

Lennart Dobravsky
Trend & Market Research Analyst 

Experts Radar

Talking tech & the future of air travel

The world of travel is constantly evolving. Technology offers countless innovative solutions from ordering your dinner to the gate to navigation through foreign airports with the help of robots. What else can we expect in the future of air travel? We talked to Gleb Tritus, entrepreneur and our very own Managing Director.
  Read the full interview
Startup Radar

How to do business trips the smarter way

Business travel has been lagging behind for quite some time in adapting to changing market dynamics, consumer behavior and technologies. But the space is gearing up: after scoring almost $80 million in venture capital, US-based startup TripActions is helping more and more unmanaged business travelers to save substantial amounts of $.

 Check out the full analysis
Press Radar

Our recommended must reads 

ELECTRIC-PLANE’S DEBUT – Boeing Co. backed startup Zunum Aero plans to deliver its first hybrid-electric plane in 2022 to JetSuite Inc., setting the stage for a new era in regional flying.
 
JetSuite, a small charter airline with plans to expand a commercial operation nationally, eventually will receive as many as 100 aircraft that seat up to 12 passengers each, Zunum co-founder Matt Knapp said in a statement Monday. JetBlue Airways Corp. has invested in Zunum and JetSuite. The charter operator is also backed by Qatar Airways.

 Read more in Bloomberg 
CURRENT STATE OF TRAVEL SEARCH – Over the years, online hotel bookings have increased dramatically, reaching a record high of almost 45 billion in terms of market value for hotel reservations made on the web in the US alone.
However, the search volume on classic search engines (such as Google or Bing) for generic travel-related keywords has constantly decreased:
Surprised? You shouldn’t be. This, in fact, does not mean that web users are no longer interested in booking a hotel in Paris or NYC (or in any other city, as the trend is pretty much the same on every destination), but simply that the starting point for online bookings is no longer, as it used to be, the classic search engine, but a metasearch engine.
 
Travel tech media outlet Tnooz provides a detailed look at the evolution of search since the mid 90’s and explains how the extreme competitiveness in travel is slowly bringing search engines, OTAs and metasearch engines to converge towards an increasingly homogeneous model.

 Read more in Tnooz 
SMART-LUGGAGE GRAVEYARD – Smart luggage startups keep shutting down in wake of airline regulations. Raden has become the second VC-backed smart luggage company to shut down this month after Bluesmart (which had collected nearly $30 million in estimated VC financing) announced its own shutdown at the beginning of May.
 
Beginning earlier this year, several major airlines put in place new policies on batteries in luggage stating that passengers must remove batteries from checked luggage and carry-ons and place them in separate plastic bags due to potential fire hazards.

It will be interesting to see how VC investors will react in the upcoming months. A quick look at VC investment value in smart luggage startups over time illustrates that the segment has significantly cooled off since its boom year in 2016. The first six months of 2018, however, have already struck back with two significant investment rounds in respective luggage ventures (e.g. see investment in “CowaRobot” below under Funding Radar). A comeback in the making?
 Read more in Pitchbook 
ROBO-TAXI BATTLE – Alphabet's Waymo and current ride-hailing leader and VC-industry titan Uber go head to head in the battle for autonomous vehicles (AV). UBS analysts, in a recent note to clients, outlined the case for why the market for autonomous vehicles overall could be worth upwards of $2.8 trillion per year by 2030 (excl. current car sales).
 
These findings were the result of an interview with a panel hosted by UBS that included 22 senior experts and executives from the AV ecosystem. Their major takeaway was that the largest potential revenue pool is likely "the sale of the mile in an AV," while the strategic center will be whoever creates the most widely used AV operating system.
 
Waymo looks best positioned to capitalize on both of these, enjoying a head start in bringing robo taxis to market, thanks to the leveraging of its strength in software development as well as the "hardware stack" of sensors needed to enable the machine vision necessary for computers to take the wheel.
 
By one metric, the number of autonomous vehicle miles driven in California, Waymo is way ahead of everyone, with 5 million miles driven through February 2018. The company also has nearly twice the share of US autonomous driving patents relative to its next closest competitor.  
 Read more in Pitchbook 
Funding Radar

Most recent venture capital deals

Singulato Motors – a Beijing-based electric vehicle manufacturer raised $474M in Series C funding from undisclosed investors.
 Read in CHINA MONEY NETWORK
Roadstar.AI – a Shenzhen-based provider of autonomous driving technology raised $128M in Series A funding from Shenzhen Capital Group, Wu Capital, CMB International Capital and other investors.
 Read in finanzen.net
Aireon – a Virginia-based air-traffic management system raised $69M in Corporate funding from NATS.
 Read in PR Newswire
Carro – a Singapore-based used car financing service and marketplace raised $60M in Series B funding from Softbank Ventures, Venturra Capital, B Capital Group and other investors.
 Read in TechCrunch
Parsable – a San Francisco-based provider of a connected worker platform raised $40M in Series C funding from Future Fund, Airbus, Saudi Aramco and B37 Ventures.
 Read in Finsmes
Ridecell – a San Francisco-based platform for car-sharing, ride-sharing and autonomous fleet management raised $28.61M in Series B funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Initialized Capital and Georgia Tech VentureLab.
 Read in BZ Weekly
CowaRobot – a Shanghai-based manufacturer of suitcases, that follow their owners, raised $21.2M in Series B funding from China Creation Ventures, Softbank China Venture Capital, Infore Capital and other investors.
 Read in DealStreetAsia
Shilily – a Shenzhen-based Chinese boutique hotel chain raised $15.7M in Series B funding from Matrix Partners, N5 Capital and Qingsong Fund.
 Read in CHINA MONEY NETWORK
MadeComfy – an Australia-based vacation rental management service raised $6M in funding from Investec.
 Read in Financial Review
Skip – a San Francisco-based electric scooter manufacturer raised $6M in Seed funding from Initialized Capital, A.Capital Ventures and SV Angels.
 Read in TechCrunch
Airsorted – a London-based Airbnb management company raised $2.83M in equity crowdfunding funding on Seedrs
 Read in UK Tech News
AtYourGate – a San Diego-based in-airport e-commerce and delivery startup raised $2M in Seed funding from Triton Funds and other investors.
 Read in FINSMES
CleanBnB – a Milano-based Airbnb property management service raised $500k in Crowdfunding.
 Read in Smartmoney
TravelSkope – a Taiwan-based online travel agency raised $297k in Seed funding from Venture Republic and other investors.
 Read in e27
Kompas – a London-based travel itinerary application raised $40k in Accelerator funding from Startupbootcamp.
 Read in Startupbootcamp
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