Headout claims to serve more than 10 Mn individuals across 190+ countries leveraging travel experiences across 30 destinations around the world
It reached EBITDA profitability in July 2021, and now plans to reach $1 Bn in annual sales
The mobile-first startup is a managed marketplace that curates all travel activities from sight attractions to things to do, to stay and tickets — even (especially) last-minute plans
On-demand travel experiences platform Headout has raised an additional $30 Mn in its extended Series B round. It had previously raised $12 Mn in September 2021, bringing the total round size to $42 Mn.
The investment round was led by existing investor Glade Brook Capital with participation from Nexus Venture Partners, FJ Labs and 500 Startups, among others. A number of angel investors also participated in the round, including Swiggy’s Sriharsha Majety, Postman’s Ankit Sobit and Pratilipi’s Ranjeet Pratap Singh, among others.
The New York and Bengaluru-based startup’s funds will be used to expand to 500 cities by CY24, launch new verticals for domestic short-haul travel, hire across functions and around the world. During the $12 Mn round and now again, Headout mentioned its plans to grow inorganically via acquisitions in travel, entertainment and AR space — which will b
“With all of the previous raise still in our bank and our consistently profitable economics, we have all the firepower we need to focus on aggressive expansion worldwide and longer-term investments to aid broader recovery of all things IRL experiences,” Varun Khona, cofounder and the chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Founded in 2014 by Suren Sultania, Varun Khona, and Vikram Jit Singh, Headout is a managed marketplace that helps individuals explore curated experiences in various cities around the world. Headout claims that it reached EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) profitability profitable in July 2021. With the funds, it plans to achieve $1 Bn in annual sales by CY24.
Earlier called Tourlandish, Headout was part of Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator 500 Startups’ batch 11. At present, Headout serves 30 destinations around the world and claims to have more than 10 Mn individuals across 190+ countries leveraging various experiences offered on the platform.
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With travel rebound strengthening, Headout claims to have grown 8X year-on-year (YoY), by doubling down on domestic travel and local demand. Despite the setback posed by the pandemic, unlike major traveltech platforms, Headout adopted a zero-layoff strategy, aiding a better culture for people within and beyond the company.
The mobile-first startup is a managed marketplace that curates all travel activities from sight attractions to things to do, to stay and tickets. It also provides guides and experiences for as small as helicopter rides in New York City or riding on the dunes of the deserts of Dubai or last-minute access to a Broadway show.
The Pandemic Impacted Travel Industry
The travel industry has been the most impacted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, losing nearly three-quarters of its revenue that could amount up to INR 15 Lakh Cr, a. In 2019, travel and tourism accounted for more than $9 Bn of the global GDP or 10.4%; in the pandemic-hit 2020, it came down to 5.5% or a little more than $4 Bn
According to a 2020 statement by the World Travel and Tourism Council, the pandemic could wipe off 50 Mn jobs across this industry, and Asia was expected to be the worst affected.
As the lockdown and restrictions are slowly lifting up, foreign tourism will still remain low, but domestic tourism is picking pace. While eco-friendly and sustainable tourism is one of the fastest-growing trends in the travel industry, workcations, road trips, and solo trips have increasingly become common among travellers.
Linda Guo, partner at Glade Brook Capital, in a statement said, “Now, more than ever, people crave in-person, local travel experiences. We believe Headout is building an exceptional platform to discover and book experiences.”
Though Headout claims to be the only player in the last-minute booking and offering personal guide, there are players including Thrillophilia, Voyagin, Viator, BeMyGuest, Veltra, TravelToe, VeloAsia and Zo World in Asian markets, who are into the business of providing local experiences in travelling.