When we re-launched GetYourGuide on a cold winter day 2010, we had no idea what we were about to get into. We were a group of science & engineering students, spending our nights building a travel website. Our idea was that we wanted fellow students to sign up as local tour guides and make some extra money by showing travelers around town. At that point in 2010, the project had already gone on for more than a year and there were only a few students signing up to be tour guides. Even worse, apart from my mother, there was no customer that wanted to book the tours that we offered on the website.
Our re-launch in 2010 was the very last attempt for success. We had just failed our peer-to-peer student guide project and in an all-or-nothing moment, we promoted a few local sightseeing tour companies on our marketplace platform. Within days we saw first bookings coming in. When adding more cities and more attractions & activities suppliers, we saw bookings grow at an exhilarating pace. It became clear that travelers love to book activities on the go and that our student version of the platform was just the wrong inventory.
Fast forward 6 years later, and we are now one of the major online travel companies with more than 200 employees and a global product offering and customer base.
I would be lying if I said that we had planned any of this. We only discovered the big customer problem that we have been solving along the way: When we travel it doesn’t matter so much how we get there or where we stay, but it’s all about the experience in the destination. In fact, travelers spend trillions of dollars per year on flights and hotels, when the time spent in the destination is often dull and uninspiring. Allowing travelers to find, compare and book all the things they can do in a destination creates huge value and ultimately changes their travel experience forever.
Over the past 6 years, we have made the treasures of the Vatican museums just as accessible as chasing the Northern Lights in Iceland or climbing the hidden parts of the Beijing wall. We have served millions of customers and turned their trips into amazing experiences.
From Paris, London and Rome all the way to San Francisco, Hong Kong and Bangkok we have brought thousands of travel activity suppliers online and exposed them to our global online audience. Many innovative & customer-centric new tourism businesses have been built on top of our platform and are thriving.
It’s already a great story, but today we are facing the next big turning point in the history of the company. We’re announcing a $50M Series C fundraise from KKR, one of the world’s most prestigious investment funds. The reason that this is a special day for GetYourGuide is less about the large fundraise and more about the opportunity that it opens up for us. You only get blessed very few times in your life with the shot to solve a unique problem and change an industry. This is our shot at GetYourGuide.
In the past few years, we have started to turn the travel industry upside down and I cannot wait to see what’s next. With KKR on board, we have the confidence and financial means to aggressively pursue our long term vision and change a lot more travel experiences for the better.
Say good bye to dull and uninspiring trips and hello to a 5 star experience!