Online Holiday Events Booking Platform GetYourGuide Raises $14M Series A To Internationalize Content, Zero In On Mobile

Swiss startup GetYourGuide, an online booking platform for holiday tours and attractions that started life as a student project three and a half years ago, has closed a $14 million Series A funding round (as reported earlier by Der Sonntag), with investment from Spark Capital and Highland Capital Partners Europe, the newly opened European arm of Highland Capital Partners.

Highland Capital Partners Europe’s General Partner Fergal Mullen and Spark Capital General Partner Alex Finkelstein will join the GetYourGuide board.

Earlier this year GetYourGuide snagged a $2 million seed investment, and back in 2009 raised $500,000 pre-seed — taking its total funding to date to $16.5 million. “We are a very bootstrapped company,” CEO Johannes Reck tells TechCrunch. “We grew to quite a sizeable amount of revenue — we have more than 10,000 transactions per month — on very little money so far, purely through tech.”

GetYourGuide plans to use its latest funding round to expand beyond the currently supported German- and English-speaking markets — by internationalizing its content and marketing and setting up local presences in new markets. “In the very soon future we will launch into a whole range of new markets,” says Reck. Currently, the German-speaking portion of GetYourGuide’s business accounts for 60 per cent of its transactions, with 40 per cent coming from “international markets”, primarily the U.S. and the U.K.

It also intends to use the new funding to ramp up its efforts in mobile — by hiring mobile developer expertise and building apps (currently it doesn’t have any apps, only a mobile optimised website). Reck notes that more than 10 per cent of its transactions already take place on mobile. “We are going to bet the house on mobile,” he says. “We strongly believe that tablets and mobile devices will be the future of booking and local activity.”

Beyond mobile, GetYourGuide sees plenty of potential for growth in the online booking space in general — as more people turn to the web and their mobile devices to book holiday tours, attractions and activities, rather than waiting to do it in person (or via the telephone). But it’s not just targeting consumers. It can also grow via b2b activity, by acting as ‘a sort of OpenTable for holiday events booking’, as Reck puts it — providing a technology platform that’s used by “thousands of local activity providers” to plug events-booking into their own websites. This was one of the reasons why “we could convince U.S. investors to come on board for this venture”, he says.

GetYourGuide does not break out official user figures but Reck says total monthly unique visitors to its website number more than 500,000, while year on year growth stands at more than 400 per cent.