GoEuro, one of a raft of European startups attempting to simplify the tangled web of transport booking systems us ‘Old Worldian’ Europeans have to navigate if we wish to travel across borders, has topped up its funding level with a new post-seed round “multi-million” dollar investment from Lakestar.
It’s also announced Charles Petruccelli, former President of Global Business Travel for American Express, as a new investor. TechCrunch understands the post-seed round is additive rather than essential for GoEuro, which is still maintaining a strong cash position at this point. GoEuro is not disclosing the exact size of the new round but TechCrunch understands it is sizeable.
The new funding round follows a $4 million seed for the Berlin-based startup, led by Battery Ventures and Hasso Plattner Ventures in March last year. GoEuro launched a service to users in the U.K. and Germany last May.
GoEuro said it will be using the new funding to expand the reach of its platform — which currently serves up transport info such as train, plane and coach timetable data, and estimated journey times for car trips, for travel in three European markets: namely the U.K., Germany and Spain.
That market footprint is set to expand to seven by summer 2014 — mostly in Western Europe, according to CEO Naren Shaam.
It seems likely that France will be one of GoEuro’s new markets (although he’s not naming the markets as yet), being as geographically it sits between its other operational markets, so any platform users wanting to travel between those countries by land transport are likely to need to make use of French rail and roads.
GoEuro isn’t revealing the size of this latest investment but the challenge of making myriad hoary old transport systems play together on a shiny new platform — not to mention get transport providers to sign up — is undoubtedly a costly venture.
“Because we need to get to such an extent of technology integration it’s not going to be easy,” ” said Shaam. “Rome was not built in a day, we can only go country by country — because Europe has if anything hundreds of rail and bus providers… And we need to bring all of them on the same platform.”
“The new funding will allow us to expand into all the new markets — but also the [new investors] bring a lot of previous experience,” he added.
Currently GoEuro’s platform does not support booking — although that’s something it wants to add in future. At present, the platform covers 150 airports, 12,900 rail, and 8,500 bus (coach) stations, with a reach of nearly 23,000 “unique locations” in its three operational markets.
GoEuro is not breaking out any customer data at present but sources close to the deal told TechCrunch its website has hit 1.8 million unique visitors seven months after launch. That traffic is evenly distributed across GoEuro’s three operational markets, rather than being skewed to one particular country — with each market having <40% of the total visitors.
GoEuro itself says that more than 10,000 of the locations it currently reaches have featured in customer search results. (But since it is a multimodal travel search it should typically provide a plethora of travel options per journey search to enable users to figure out the most efficient travel option — so measuring the size of the business by the cumulative number of locations displayed is not necessarily very informative.)
Rival multimodal travel startups in this space include the likes of fromAtoB Waymate and Wanderio. On the trains side, there’s also U.K.-based Loco2 — although it’s not multimodal but does allow users to chain up train journeys to travel across Europe.
“It’s a very big market, so there’s room for many, many players,” said Shaam, discussing the multimodal competition. “The concept of multimodality is fairly new so I would say all the players in this market are too young to be competing against each other, more establishing… whether the product market fit is there, do people need it, and that’s what we’ve demonstrated so far and we’re growing now.”
Commenting on the funding round in a statement, Klaus Hommels, Partner at Lakestar, added: “When I first met the GoEuro team, I was amazed at their ability to build relationships with large organisations that historically have not given out proprietary information. By building these relationships, they are breaking down a huge barrier to entry and making themselves the market leader by quite a distance.”