Home Investment GetYourGuide Joins Berlin’s Unicorn Club After $500 Million Investment From SoftBank – Forbes

GetYourGuide Joins Berlin’s Unicorn Club After $500 Million Investment From SoftBank – Forbes

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GetYourGuide, a Berlin travel startup, has been backed with $484 million in an investment round led by the $100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund. Total investment in the company is now just over $650 million, and although the exact valuation has not been disclosed, Forbes understands that it’s well over $1 billion.

Founded in 2009, GetYourGuide’s online platform allows people to find and book travel experiences like a street food tour of Hanoi or a white-water rafting session in the Grand Canyon. There are more than 50,000 experiences to choose from across 7,500 destinations.

GetYourGuide CEO and cofounder Johannes Reck told Forbes: “It’s a very big day for us. It’s the largest round that’s ever been done in the travel experiences space by a large factor, and we’re the most highly valued company in the space. It puts us squarely into unicorn territory, of course, and beyond.”

GetYourGuide now joins a small circle of German tech darlings like company-builder Rocket Internet, food delivery firm Delivery Hero, music streaming service SoundCloud and e-commerce giant Zalando, with a valuation of more than $1 billion.

Reck said the fund raise “didn’t happen overnight,” adding that GetYourGuide was in talks for around a year with senior staff at SoftBank Vision Fund as well Masayoshi Son himself, who is the Japanese billionaire that leads SoftBank.

Reck was unable to disclose how many times he met Son. “I’m actually not allowed to speak about that, to be honest,” he said. “That’s off limits, but I can say that Masa is a technology visionary. He thinks about experiential travel as the future of travel, but he also really thinks about mobility and the way that different experiences are knitted together, and how we can leverage the network that he’s aggregated of mobility orientated companies.”

SoftBank is also an investor in Uber, Didi, and Grab. “I have tremendous respect for them, and we share a lot of operational synergies,” said Reck. “We certainly see a lot of areas of innovation in the transportation segment. How they get to the next experience or to the next destination is a problem that’s not really solved yet. I think we could use the expertise or the network that Uber, Grab or Didi have in order to build really great transportation experiences that are tied in tightly with our experiences.”

But the company that’s most “relevant” to GetYourGuide in the SoftBank portfolio is Indian hotel chain Oyo, Reck said, adding that it’s also a “revolutionary hospitality company” that “leverages data and AI” to improve its operations.

GetYourGuide, which takes a commission on each booking from the supplier in the same way that Airbnb does, says that 25 million tickets have been booked on its platform since it launched ten years ago and that 15 million of those tickets have been sold over the course of the last year alone.

“We’ve grown tremendously, and we continue to see exponential growth in Europe as well as in new territories like the U.S. and Asia,” said Reck, who has travelled to more than 70 countries.

But GetYourGuide is far from the only one selling trips and tours to travellers. Viator and TourRadar are competitors while Airbnb expanded into the sector in 2016.

GetYourGuide currently employs almost 600 people across 16 offices worldwide, with almost 400 of those located in Berlin. That number is likely to grow considerably in the next couple of years.

In addition to hiring more staff, Reck said the money will be used to grow the GetYourGuide consumer base and to broaden its inventory of trips.

“GetYourGuide is very strong on attraction tickets and guided walking tours and day trips, but there’s a plethora of other categories that we’ll continue to invest in,” said Reck.

Ted Fike, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said in a statement: “Consumers, especially Millennials, are spending an increasing portion of their disposable income on travel experiences.

“We believe GetYourGuide is leading this seismic shift by consolidating the fragmented global supply base of tour operators and modernizing access for travelers globally. This combination creates powerful network effects for their business that is fueling their strong growth. We are excited to partner with their passionate and talented leadership team.”

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