German travel booking app Omio raises $100m from Temasek, others

Photo: Pixabay

Berlin travel-booking app Omio said on Wednesday it had raised $100 million in backing to expand its business and make acquisitions as the industry recovers from the blow dealt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the height of the viral outbreak, Omio went into “keep-the-lights-on” mode and put 90% of its staff on furlough, founder and CEO Naren Shaam told Reuters, but its team of 350 is now working again at full strength.

The company, which offers travel search and bookings for flights, trains, buses and other forms of transport, said it was seeing a shift away from air towards ground travel.

That shift supports margins, but purchases and distances travelled are smaller, said Shaam. More people are also booking at the last minute, putting a premium on the flexibility offered by its smartphone app, he added.

Bookings through the platform are back above half pre-pandemic levels in Omio‘s core markets of Germany and France although it is still beaten down in the United States, which it entered at the start of this year.

“Business is coming back much stronger than we expected,” the Indian-born, Harvard-educated entrepreneur said in an interview.

Existing and new investors took part in the round, including Singaporean wealth fund Temasek, Sweden’s Kinnevik, Goldman Sachs, NEA – a backer of U.S. share trading app Robinhood – and Kleiner Perkins.

The round took the form of convertible notes that investors will be able to switch, at a discount, into shares in Omio when it holds its next equity fundraising.

Shaam said it would be at least a couple of years before he starts thinking about another equity round. Omio had previously attracted $296 million from investors.

Omio is reviewing “a lot of opportunities” for acquisitions, he added, having bought Australian route-discovery specialist Rome2Rio last October.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.