SilverRail Technologies, the UK company that’s building a tech platform to consolidate passenger rail ticket booking and search across Europe and further afield (including the U.S.) and provide it as a service to travel retailers and sites, has gone a step further on its mission by means of an acquisition.
It’s won the tender to acquire a majority stake in Sweden’s Linkon, which powers rail booking and inventory management, including the sale of both m-tickets and e-tickets, for the Swedish rail industry.
Specifically, SilverRail is acquiring 75 percent of Linkon, with current owners, Swedish national rail carrier SJ, retaining the remaining 25 per cent.
Further terms of the deal — namely price — aren’t being disclosed. However, I’m told that SilverRail will be retaining the full Linkon team and its offices in Stockholm and Norrköping, Sweden, so essentially business as usual for the company.
Founded in 2009, the problem SilverRail’s founders, Aaron Gowell and Will Phillipson, have set out to solve is that rail ticketing, specifically the tech that powers it, is extremely fragmented, with no set standard as found in the airline ticketing industry.
As a result, it’s often a painstaking process for travel retailers and aggregators to feature ticketing information and sell train tickets in a pan-Eurpoean or global way, which in turn has the potential to make rail travel a much more cumbersome alternative to flying from a consumer point of view.
SilverRail’s non-trivial mission is to connect every major rail carrier in the world, irrespective of operators, geographies and currencies, via its own technology platform and offer this up as an API.
By consolidating content across multiple rail carrier systems, the resulting marketplace lets sellers, such as travel sites/online travel agencies and aggregators, connect with suppliers, essentially taking away the heavy lifting, bureaucratically and technically, otherwise involved in selling tickets online.
To that end, SilverRail says the purchase of Linkon gives it access to the Swedish company’s expertise from the rail operators’ perspective, as well as giving it “direct access to one of the most forward-looking rail markets in the world.”
Along with London in the UK, SilverRail, which is backed by PAR Capital, Sutter Hill, Grandbanks Capital, Brook Ventures and Accel Partners, has offices in Boston, U.S., and Brisbane, Australia. Meanwhile, today’s acquisition of Linkon brings the company’s total engineering headcount to 200.