Investors gather to back AI-powered family travel startup tripAbrood

A series of backers, including former c-suite executives from Barclays, American Express, Expedia and Hertz have invested in family travel tech startup tripAbrood, to further develop its revolutionary AI-powered family booking experience. tripAbrood has raised £645,000 seed funds in its second round of funding, bringing total funding to just shy of the £1m mark. It comes seven months after its September 2020 beta-launch.

The latest funding round was led by Ben Davey, the former CEO of Barclays Ventures.  Other investors include: Vic Walia, former Global Vice President Brand Marketing for Expedia Group; Charles Petruccelli, former President of Global Travel Services at American Express ; Andy Mullinger and James Meekings, co founders of Funding Circle; Will Keith, former VC and Head of Sales and Origination at PrimaryBid and Michel Taride, former Group President of Hertz International. Charles Petruccelli and Will Keith will also sit on the tripAbrood board. 

Founded in 2019 by Alexa-Maria Rathbone Barker (formerly European Head of Analytics for Bloomberg) and Ketan Anand (formerly Engineering Lead at Lloyds Banking Group), tripAbrood’s growth has been rapid.  Since its beta-launch with five key European destinations in September 2020 and despite COVID-related extensive travel restrictions, the business saw a 10% conversion rate in its initial live release (versus an industry average of 3-5%), a 700% increase in their mailing list from September 2020 to April 2021 as well as achieving a 5-star Excellent Rating on Trustpilot from its rapidly growing community. 

These numbers have attracted some of the biggest names in travel, who are facilitating tripAbrood’s exponential growth in global destination coverage. And its early successes are already being recognised, with tripAbrood securing two industry gongs in 2020: Travolution’s Startup of the Year and being named a Techround 2020 top100 UK startup. 

The funds from the second round of seed funding will be used to launch and scale tripAbrood's global product to the UK market.

Alexa-Maria Rathbone Barker, who is one of just 30 women from across the world selected to sit on the 2020 Techstars and Barclay’s programme #femalefoundersfirst, commented: “The closure of this latest funding round is a true validation of our vision and the traction that the world’s first AI-powered family travel assistant - called ‘Skye’ -  is already making in the market.  Skye looks to guide users seamlessly through the discovery and booking process, narrowing options to those that are tailor made to their needs, and aiming to cut average search to booking times from 30 hours to just 10 minutes  Despite the global slow-down in travel, tripAbrood’s numbers clearly demonstrate our proof of concept, and show that there is a real consumer desire for a highly personalised yet simple to use family travel booking platform.”

Charles Petruccelli, Chair of the tripAbrood board and former President of Global Travel Services at American Express, continued: “tripAbrood is addressing a segment of customers that has been largely overlooked by all online booking platforms  building its uniqueness on the power of AI. This explains the success of this second seed round and the reason why it attracted such a panel of successful and experienced business angels. We are all convinced with the huge growth potential of the tailored family vacations space and the talent of the tripAbrood leadership team.”

Ketan Anand said: "By using a blend of travel data insights, AI and our industry knowledge, we have been building tripAbrood from the ground up to create a totally new kind of family travel discovery experience, one we know fits the pace and needs of parents today. The success of our funding efforts prove the power of our platform, and the growth potential for machine learning across the travel industry.  We will continue to build tripAbrood, secure in the knowledge that our backers support our pioneering product development.”