Travel Search Site Skyscanner Raises $192M For International Expansion

Travel search engine Skyscanner announced today that it has raised £128 million (about $192 million). The Edinburgh-based company did not disclose its valuation, but the Financial Times reported that it has hit unicorn status and is now worth $1.6 billion.

Skyscanner, which was founded in 2003, says its new funding will be used to expand to new markets around the world and make acquisitions. New backers include two from Asia: Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the Malaysian government’s strategic investment fund and Yahoo! Japan, which was already one of Skyscanner’s venture partners.

Fund manager Artemis, independent investment manager Baillie Gifford, and private equity firm Vitruvian Partners also participated. The company’s investors already included Scottish Equity Partners and Sequoia.

In a statement, the company said its latest round is made up of primary and secondary proceeds and each new investor will acquire an undisclosed stake in Skyscanner.

Co-founder and chief executive officer Gareth Williams told the Financial Times that the new capital will give some of its shareholders more liquidity, allowing them to sell some of their shares without fully exiting.

In the past three years Skyscanner has made several inroads into Asia, striking partnerships with Baidu, China’s largest search engine, and Yahoo! Japan; opening three offices (two in China and one in Singapore); and acquiring a Chinese travel search startup called Youbibi to increase its presence there.

The site is now used by 50 million people every month, but it also faces a long list of competitors around the world, including Kayak, Expedia, and Chinese companies Qunar and Ctrip. Google is also a major rival with products like Google Flights, which it launched after acquiring flight information software startup ITA Software in 2010.