Withlocals Raises $4.1M in Series A Funding
Leading global marketplace for personalized tours and activities to expand into 40 more cities
Eindhoven, the Netherlands â€“ October 11, 2017 â€“ Withlocals, the leading global marketplace for personalized travel experiences, today announced it has raised EUR 3.5 million (USD $4.1 million) in Series A funding led by Inkef Capital. Withlocals currently offers over 1,200 fully-customizable, 100% private tours and activities led by 900 local hosts in 24 international cities and plans to expand into 40 more cities in the next year, including New York, Florence, and Hong Kong.
â€œThe world of mass tourism, where one size fits all, is coming to an end,â€ said Matthijs Keij, CEO of Withlocals. â€œTravelers today are looking to get off the â€˜TripAdvisor circuitâ€™ to instead have unique experiences personalized around their interests and personalities. We created Withlocals so tourists can experience cities like the locals do.â€
Founded in 2013, Withlocals is an online tours and activities marketplace that allows local hosts to offer unique, personalized, and affordable experiences to travelers. The company is well positioned to take advantage of the burgeoning online personalized tours and activities market, which is expected to generate USD $6.8 billion in 2020, according to analysis of a July 2017 study from Eye for Travel. Withlocals aims to capture at least 20% of this fast-growing market.
Some of Withlocalsâ€™s most popular and unique experiences include:
â— A fully-customizable foodie tour of Rome
â— A 90-minute private kickstart tour of Lisbon
â— A magical night out in Saigon with a local
â— Experiencing life as a â€œMonk for a dayâ€ in Bangkok
â— Traditional Mud wrestling in Bali
â— Gourmet dining with a Michelin-starred chef in Amsterdam
Large tour aggregators such as Viator or GetYourGuide are used by commercial companies to sell packaged group tours, while Withlocals is a person-to-person marketplace. Hosts are carefully vetted individuals who share what they love most about their cities with visitors. Unlike Airbnb Experiences, which offers group tours open to anyone, Withlocals offers 100% private, fully-customizable activities for solo travelers, couples, families, or groups of friends. On Withlocals, travelers can change the start time, add stops, request special accommodations, or customize tours based on their interests. Withlocals is the only online activities marketplace to crack the code on â€œmass-personalized travelâ€.
â€œSince our first conversation with the team, we were impressed with the data-driven approach Withlocals is taking to build a truly unique portfolio of personalized tours and activities,â€ said Kyang Yung, Director at Inkef Capital. â€œA paradigm shift is happening in how vacations are booked, moving from a destination-led to an experience-led approach. Withlocals is at the forefront of facilitating this shift, allowing travelers to directly connect with pre-vetted local hosts to have affordable and authentic travel experiences.â€
With over 10,000 people currently participating in experiences each month, Withlocals has increased booking volumes an average of 20% per month for the last 18 months, and expects growth to accelerate as it expands into more cities, adds multiple languages to its website, and rolls out new mobile functionality. Currently, 42% of bookings are made on Withlocalsâ€™ mobile app, but that number is expected to grow to 85% by the end of 2018. Travelers love the service and repeat bookings are common; 99% of users rate their tours highly, with 91% rating them 10-out-of-10.
â€œWith Withlocals, I get to explore the best of my city with travelers who really want to learn all about daily life in Rome, not just hit the usual tourist spots,â€ said Giulio Corsetti, a popular host of Roman foodie tours. â€œI get to talk, share, and laugh with visitors from all over the world â€“ and make a good living out of it to boot!â€
Withlocals is the leading global marketplace for personalized travel experiences. Founded in 2013, Withlocals offers over 1,200 fully-customizable, 100% private tours and activities led by 900 local hosts in dozens of international cities. Withlocalsâ€™ mission is to bring magic and wonder back to traveling in the age of mass-market tourism, getting travelers off the beaten path to experience destinations like the locals do. Withlocalsâ€™ scalable marketplace puts hosts directly in contact with tourists, bringing personalized travel to the mass market at an affordable cost. Based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, Withlocals is backed by leading venture capital firm Inkef Capital.