Emerging Travel Group, a Russian online travel group that operates in over 100 source markets, closed a $10M financing round.
The round was led by technology entrepreneur Lev Leviev of LVL1 Group, Lev Leviev, who will be representing investors on the company’s Board of Directors, and the family office of Playrix co-founders, Igor and Dmitri Bukhman.
The company intends to use the funds:
– to more than double its international staff,
– to scale RateHawk,
– to continue its investments in technology, and
– to further international expansion.
Founded in 2010 and led by Felix Shpilman, CEO, Emerging Travel is an online travel group that operates three brands in 100+ source markets: RateHawk, ZenHotels, and Ostrovok. It employs more than 780 people across Europe, CIS, Middle East, and South Africa in roles ranging from product and business development to specialized multilingual customer support for customers, whether they are trade partners or individuals booking their hotels online.
The company is backed by international venture investors and angels including Vaizra Capital, Founders Fund, Frontier Ventures, Data Collective, Yuri Milner, Esther Dyson, and Fritz Demopoulos.
Launched in 2016, RateHawk is an online hotel-booking platform designed for travel professionals providing access to more than 1 million accommodations worldwide through its API and web product. The company sources its inventory – hotels, apartments, and hostels from 85 suppliers worldwide and 29,000 direct hotel contracts. RateHawk is used by over 9,500 travel professionals in Europe, the Middle East, South America, and Africa. The Company employs business development staff in 28 countries. The site is available in nine languages – English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, and Russian. Last year, the service started operating in 21 new markets: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.
RateHawk plans to hire commercial team of 50+ managers with a focus on business development and the company plans to establish business relationships with 10,000+ partners over the next 12 months (a penetration level of ~25-30% of the B2B travel market in each country).
For Central, Eastern and Northern Europe (the Baltic States, Balkans, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia), RateHawk plans to strengthen its team with an additional 25 employees in 20 countries to develop and maintain its positions in the region.
For North America (the USA and Canada), RateHawk will enter the region by establishing two commercial teams: one in the USA and one in Canada to secure simultaneous development. It plans to add 3,000+ partners to its portfolio in the region within one year.
For the Middle East (Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and Turkey), RateHawk intends to strengthen its presence in this region and open a headquarters in Dubai, For Asia (Singapore and Malaysia), it plans to enter the region with a team of ~5 commercial managers and will focus on Singapore and Malaysia. Within a year, RateHawk plans to sign up a portfolio of 1,500+ partners.