Travel scale-up Withlocals raises 8M euro in Series B Funding
Withlocals uniquely positioned to become global leader in personalized travel experiences.
Series B Funding
The new 8M Euro funding round is led by London-based Keen Venture Partners with participation from existing investor Inkef Capital. Robert Verwaayen, General Partner at Keen says: “We believe Withlocals is tapping into a large latent demand of “experiential depth” for traveling that breaks away from the cookie-cutter mould of holiday offerings. With great momentum the company is able to pull off a paradox: delivering uniquely personal experiences at scale.”
Withlocals is a Dutch scale-up marketplace that connects tens of thousands of travelers each month with verified local hosts in over 30 cities across Europe and Asia offering personalized private tours and activities at scale based on travelers passions like food, music and sports.
Withlocals goes directly against the grain of most mass tourism concepts and taps into the trend of personalized and private tours and activities all over the world. Withlocals offers travelers the opportunity to experience a city like a local away from the masses. The extensive (and growing) network of verified local hosts offers Withlocals the scale and local insights to maintain the average of 9.8 (out of 10) customer rating.
Withlocals’ CEO Matthijs Keij explains: “The tours and activities segment is booming. Withlocals offers a welcome alternative to standard tours and skip-the-line tickets with personalized and unique experiences. This new round of funding will help us to connect more people and cultures, to offer a broader and more localized range of experiences and to build a strong community of hosts worldwide.”
Four Pillars for Growth
The new funding will be used to offer end-to-end localization, strengthen the community of local hosts, continue the growth in existing and new cities and offer more experiences based on people’s passions.
Withlocals’ research shows that localization of the complete customer experience from the initial touch point to the experience with a host who speaks their language and everything in between is especially valuable for the fast growing segments of families with young children and for senior travelers who prefer to communicate in their native language.
Withlocals’ hosts play a massively important role when it comes to customer happiness (9.8 out of 10 average) and to create scale. Because the hosts go above and beyond to show travelers their city and their passion. From food to street art, music, sports. As one of Withlocals’ customers put it: “I’ve been traveling all my life, but Withlocals made me see what traveling is all about.”
Withlocals is currently present in 30 cities across Europe and Asia and will continue to expand its presence in those cities and in parallel open up new destinations. This is an important step to reach a larger group of customers and hosts and in the long run make a meaningful impact in the tours and activities space.
Passion-based travel experiences
Withlocals’ extensive research and data-analyses shows that most people’s travel plans are not shaped by available time, budget or a certain offering available, but much earlier in the process by deeper personal passions like food, music or sports. These passions create a lens through which travelers are looking for new experiences. By creating customer journeys completely based on these passions Withlocals will make sure to connect to travelers as early in the process as possible.
About Keen Venture Partners LLP
KEEN Venture Partners is a radically human venture capital firm investing in fast growing scale-ups predominately in Series A and B and is based in London and Amsterdam. Keen Venture Partners LLP is a Small AIFM authorised in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority and registered as a manager of a 'EuVECA' (a 'European Venture Capital Fund'). The investment in Withlocals benefits from the support of the European Union under the Equity Facility for Growth established by the Council establishing a Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium enterprises (COSME). For more information www.keenventurepartners.com
About INKEF Capital
INKEF Capital is an Amsterdam-based venture capital firm that focuses on long-term collaboration and active support of innovative technology companies. INKEF Capital was founded in 2010 by Dutch pension fund ABP and with €500 million under management is one of the largest venture capital funds in the Netherlands. INKEF focuses on investment opportunities in Healthcare, Technology, IT/New Media & FinTech. For more information www.inkefcapital.com
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Withlocals is a Dutch scale-up marketplace that connects tens of thousands of travelers each month. Our verified and well-trained local hosts offer personalized private tours and activities in more than 50 cities across Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Our vision is to end mass tourism and replace it with personalized traveling at scale. We break down the barriers that separate locals and travelers. We let locals earn their fair share with their passions and the love for their cities. While at the same time creating authentic travel experiences for travelers. This is our way to improve the quality of living in cities and brighten up the world.
How it all started
The idea of the company originated when founder Willem Maas was traveling in India. After some disappointing experiences, Willem met an amazing guide who showed him the true colours and wonders of India. When he found out Willem was working in online marketing, he asked if he could set up a website which would send guests directly to him, so he and his family would be the one profiting. That’s exactly what Willem did in 2013 when he founded Withlocals.