As we are in the middle of summer and everyone’s looking forward to their holiday plans, it’s a good time to shed some light on the best Barcelona travel tech companies and startups making waves worldwide. Maybe you can even use their services yourself to boost your vacation plans this year!
Historically speaking, Barcelona always stood out as a city with strong entrepreneurial roots. Catalonia was arguably the only Spanish region that was among the leaders in the Industrial Revolution in Europe as it blossomed into the cotton and textile hub. On the other hand, due to its natural beauty, pleasant weather and delicious food, Barcelona’s tourism industry has been on an unstoppable rise over the past 25 years. Combining the entrepreneurial spirit and the natural power of the tourism industry in Barcelona, it makes sense that the city developed into sorts of a travel tech hub in Europe. In fact, this year Airbnb and Barcelona Tech City joined forces to launch the first Travel Tech Awards in Barcelona (oh and it’s not too bad, the winner EasyTravel got €15k in cash, a trip to Airbnb’s offices in San Francisco & a free entry to the first ever 4YFN Mobile World Congress Americas).
So without further ado, let’s take a look at:
The best Barcelona travel tech companies:
eDreams is perhaps one of the most well-known and biggest startup success stories from Barcelona. It was founded in 1999 as mainly a flight search engine but quickly developed into a major player on the global digital travel market. In fact, in 2014 it launched a huge IPO with a $1.5B market capitalization. Right after that, its share prices fell sharply for several months, but now the firms seems to be back on right track again. Today, the company is basically an online travel agency offering flights, hotels, vacation packages, car rentals and even travel insurance. What is more, at the start of the year eDreams acquired budgetplaces.com and it’s latest figures revealed a revenue margin of €463M.
While many people in Spain have heard about Atrápalo, few might know that it was actually founded way back in time in 2000. Today the company is present in 9 countries and offers a platform where users can book flights, cruises and hotels as well as buy tickets for concerts, theater plays and many other leisure activities. At the start of this decad it invested €1M in Ticketea, but has stayed fairly quiet ever since. Last year rumours emerged that the company is looking to sell its business and some sources estimated Atrápalo’s valuation at close to €100M. Currently, the latest reports show stagnating sales revenues at €330M and also mention that the company is looking for a new partner to replace Tiger, a US fund who owns 30% of shares in Atrápalo.
Founded in 2013, this startup is another interesting player in the travel tech industry in Barcelona. It offers a search engine that is focused exclusively on short-term apartment rentals. Its website currently lists over 25,000 apartments in 100 countries worldwide. The company secured a $4,7M funding in 2014 after going public. With revenues stuck around €3,4M and net loss growing from €1,5M to €2,1M in the past year, the startup still has work cut out to do, although share prices point into the right direction.
THE RISING STARS
TravelPerk is one of the rising stars in the Barcelona tech startup scene. It developed a state-of-the-art travel booking and management platform which is disrupting the $1.2 trillion business travel industry. The key difference maker is the automated travel policies and approvals that make enforcing business travel a thing of the past. The firm was launched in 2015 by Avi Meir (who sold his previous startup Hotel Ninjas to Booking.com), Javier Suarez and Ron Levin. TravelPerk has already raised $8.5M and is making big waves in the business travel sector. For instance, last May they won the Scale Startup Competition at the TNW Conference in Amsterdam and returned home with a €25k cash prize!
This Barcelona-based startup was established in 2013 and can best be described as “an ebay for travel trips”. This is so because it platforms allows you to make bids on the overcapacity of hotels, restaurants, and other leisure activities. As one of Spain’s fastest growing startups, it has expanded it portfolio and now also enables users to bid on non-travel related products such as fashion items, tech gadgets and more. It raised a total of over €4M, with the latest investment coming in a form of a €2M Series A funding in March 2017.
If you ever looked for an eDreams website for holiday apartments, Apartum will be your favourite place to search for accommodation. The company developed an aggregate meta search engine that combines all different sites and engines for vacation rentals. After launching in 2013 and raising a couple of smaller seed rounds, the startup finally landed a solid €2M Series A round this year which should be the financial backing needed to accelerate growth.
Whereas most of the startups focused on meta search engines for finding cheap flights or hotels, Mondo chose to focus on a largely untapped market – travel insurance. Of course, it could be viewed as a fintech startup too, but we think it’s focus on travel insurance justifies its inclusion on this list. In a matter of seconds you answer half a dozen simple questions on their platform and then you received a personalised travel insurance offer. The company claims to be independent which should technically secure you the best price and coverage without studying all insurance providers in detail.
Launched last year, the travel startup is a fairly new player on the field. In short, it lets you book flight tickets through Facebook, Whatsapp, Telegram or SMS by communicating with a chatbot. The company raised over €750k last year and you might have spotted them at 4YFN this year. It’s an interesting approach to booking travel so it will be interesting to see if they’ll manage to beat fierce competition from online booking platforms such as eDreams, TravelPerk and co.
Who doesn’t know Trip4Real yet? Well for those who don’t, It’s basically a platform for booking tours and activities offered by locals. The company has been very successful since it’s inception, picking up over €2,5M in 4 investment rounds and growing a community of 40.000 users in a very short period. Ultimately, it’s glory couldn’t been kept a secret much longer and it was acquired by Airnbnb in September 2016, just 4 years after being founded. While the fees was never disclosed in public, El Confidencial estimates it to be between €5M and €10M.
This Barcelona-based startup was launched in 2008, but it’s root can be traced back to 2003. Initially the company offered fixed affordable hotel rates for people. For travelers coming to Barcelona that meant they could booking hotels on Barcelona30.com for 30€, in Paris the rate was set at 35€ and so on. Eventually the business was so successful that they decided to create an international brand Budgetplaces and unite all its sites. Ever since, the firm’s success skyrocketed and, eventually, it was acquired by eDreams at the start of the year for an undisclosed fee as they viewed Budgetplaces as a logical strategic and cultural fit.
The Barcelona travel tech industry seems to have it all: Huge multinational companies such as eDreams, experienced firms like Atrápalo, rising stars such as TravelPerk, newcomers like correYvuela and successful exits like Trip4Real and Budgetplaces. It becomes clear that the region turned into an exciting tech hub for travel industry related startups. We hope that that Catalonia will continue to develop this ecosystem so we’ll see more success stories in the upcoming years. Oh, and of course we’re happy to be the first ones to test and benefit from the innovative solutions of these local travel tech companies.
So there you have it: the top 10 Barcelona travel tech players. Beg to differ? Have we missed anyone? Get in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook, leave us a comment or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a brief description and we will add them to the list! Enjoy your summer holidays!