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European online travel marketplace Evaneos picks up $21M funding

TechCrunch TechCrunch 12/05/2016 Steve O'Hear

Evaneos, the European travel marketplace, has beefed up its coffers once again. The French startup has raised a further $21 million in funding, money it will use to continue developing the product and for international expansion, including a planned U.S. launch.

Backing the company’s third round are Serena Capital, Fonds Ambition Numérique managed by Bpifrance, ISAI, and XAnge. It brings total funding for 2009-founded Evaneos to around $28 million, depending on how you account for the exchange rate at the time of each funding round.

Evaneos competes with traditional tour operators by providing a marketplace for tailored travel experiences that claims to cut out the middle-person -– that is, the tour operators and major travel agencies -– by connecting travellers directly with a community of local travel agents.

Through the site you can browse through a range of holiday ideas, and then contact a local agent living in the destination country to design a tailor-made itinerary. Evaneos counts 50 partner agencies who operate locally in 150 countries, offering, says the company, “premium expertise without the premium price tag”.

The draw for consumer is more personalised travel experiences, while local agencies benefit from an additional source of direct revenue, retaining more income for the local economy. Of course, in a sense Evaneos is the new middle-person, just a less hungry one.

“Our competitors are the tour-operators that offer discovery and adventure tours. We revolutionize their business model by cutting out the middle-men,” Evaneos CEO Eric La Bonnardière told TechCrunch a few years ago. “We are a marketplace that connects travelers with selected local agencies all around the world. Travelers customize trips directly with local experts who give the best of their countries and save money.”

Meanwhile, Evaneos says that since launching, 120,000 travellers from 30 different countries have taken a trip created by one of Evaneos’ local partner agencies. Originally launched in French, the site is now also available in English, Spanish, German, and Italian with native-speaking teams dedicated to each market.

In addition, 40 per cent of Evaneos’ turnover now comes from its international markets, which is a good since for the French company.

Next up, the company will open shop on the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, with the U.S. planned sometime in the future.

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