Travelsify: behind the scenes of their fundraising
Travelsify, young startup in the travel tech, has successfully raised 2 million euros in seed funding led by business angels with the help of our fundraising expert, Nicolas Valaize. We met with two of the co-founders, Bruno Chauvat, CEO, and Alexandra Fernandez Ramos, Chief Product & Sales Officer, to get their views on the process.
How did the project come about?
Bruno Chauvat: We came up with Travelsify when we saw that people spend far too much time choosing a hotel on the various online platforms because of the vast amount of choice on offer. We know from our past professional experience in online music and on-demand video that the larger the product catalogues, the more search and personalisation tools are required to convert a visitor into a buyer.
Alexandra Fernandez Ramos: This is even more true when the screen size gets smaller, like on mobile phones or even in connected cars.
Is it an advantage or a challenge to have three co-founders?
Alexandra Fernandez Ramos: Us three co-founders really complement each other, which is most certainly an advantage for developing Travelsify in various fields simultaneously. I’m lucky to have two outstanding and extremely inspiring co-founders. We discuss things extensively, compare our points of view and share the same vision.
Bruno Chauvat: We also have good support from our advisors, shareholders and board members.
Why start in Luxembourg ?
Bruno Chauvat: Luxembourg has done a lot of work and developed its ecosystem for startups in recent years and even though FinTech is much better represented than TravelTech in the Grand Duchy, the central position of Luxembourg and its pool of highly qualified international talents are major advantages for a startup taking the plunge in the online travel industry, which is intrinsically global. What’s more, Luxembourg is well aware of the issues and opportunities of big data and artificial intelligence, which are linked to Travelsify’s smart data operations.
This isn’t your first startup, what have you learnt from your previous experiences?
Bruno Chauvat: Timing is crucial. Everyone knows that being late means you will fail but not as many people realise that being too early can also lead to failure. Right from the start, we aimed to make sure we had the timing right with Travelsify, in other words not too early or too late, and that there was a good product-market fit.
How did you convince the AccorHotels group to work with you?
Alexandra Fernandez Ramos: Sales cycles are quite long in business-to-business. So it’s a long process that we undertook with AccorHotels but in the end that’s quite normal and reasonable. AccorHotels is an innovative actor in online travel so it made sense for us to contact them as soon as we had set up our prototype. The quality of the data in Travelsify Hotel DNA™, the innovation we bring them with personalisation, and our reliable working methods convinced them every step of the way).
You have just raised €2 million, what will you be spending it on?
Bruno Chauvat: This investment will allow Travelsify to accelerate the development of its hotel DNA creation platform which already covers 300,000 hotels worldwide, to expand its team of experts in Luxembourg, and to support its global growth with new clients internationally.
Can you share the process you went through to raise the funds?
Bruno Chauvat: Because raising funds takes up a lot of time for the founders, we set ourselves a deadline of 6 months and we kept to it. We wanted to take part in Seed4Start to give us a helping hand and to raise our profile with actors in the region. In the end the seed round was carried out exclusively with business angels in Luxembourg and we were very happy with that.
What support did you get from Nicolas Valaize at nyuko (preparation of the pitch deck, seeking investors, term sheet, shareholders’ agreement)?
Bruno Chauvat: We met Nicolas Valaize through Seed4Start. He helped us to prepare the pitch deck and his presentation, and he put us in touch with investors in Luxembourg and the region. We really enjoyed our regular meetings with Nicolas, his dynamic way of getting things moving but also his shrewd coaching.
Alexandra Fernandez Ramos: It’s very important for entrepreneurs to have coaching in the first months of development, even if they are already experienced. We’re very happy that we could count on nyuko and Nicolas in this seed stage of Travelsify.