Distribusion, the Berlin-based startup that’s built a platform to make it easy for travel companies and travel search engines to sell ‘intercity’ bus tickets, has picked up €6 million in funding. Backing comes from Northzone, Creandum, and HR Ventures. Existing seed investor Frühphasenfonds Brandenburg, along with a number of travel industry-related angels, also participated.
The problem that Distribusion is aiming to solve it is that the reservation systems of the various bus travel providers are disparate, meaning that, in order for travel agencies (including OTAs) to sell intercity bus tickets, they have to connect to and maintain multiple reservation systems, which is obviously quite costly from a development point of view.
To solve this, the company has built what it calls a GDS (global distribution system) for intercity and shuttle bus products. This includes offering an API, white label solution, and widget to enable travel companies (and their customers) to interface with a plethora of intercity bus products from a single source.
The upside is that travel retailers can sell bus tickets from multiple providers at a much reduced technical cost, while the bus operators themselves benefit from having bus ticket booking and sales offered in many more places online.
To that end, Distribusion says it already works with more than 55 bus operators covering 25 countries in Europe. On the reseller side, I’m told the startup serves bus data to travel websites and OTAs totalling 10 million monthly visitors, in addition to 4,000 travel agencies.
Meanwhile, the new capital will be used for product and technology development and to “ramp up the acquisition and integration of new bus operators and resellers”. In addition, Distribusion plans to expand beyond Europe, including intercity bus markets in South America and Southeast Asia.