TravelBird, a startup in the travel industry that has successfully grown into a scale-up, has attracted around €5 million in mezzanine financing. With the added capital – the process was supported by Nielen Schuman – TravelBird wants to improve the supply and quality of its holidays packages and further personalise its app.
Since its inception in 2010, in the Netherlands, TravelBird has grown strongly to a team of over 450 staff. Last year TravelBird facilitated the travel plans of 1.2 million travellers, a feat which saw its revenue grow by 85% in FY15.
Over the past five years the Amsterdam-based travel scale-up has received several investments from venture capitalists, including three rounds of funding from German powerhouse Rocket Internet, which reportedly holds a stake of around 25% in the company. The latest round was completed in the summer of 2015 and involved a €16.5 million investment by the fund, established by the German brothers Samwer in 2013.
In a bid to accommodate further growth plans, according to TravelBird co-founders Dennis Klompalberts and Symen Jansma, the firm earlier this month struck a Mezzanine loan deal with Main Mezzanine Capital, the capital lending arm of private equity house Main Capital Partners. “I am very pleased with this opportunity. The large loan enables our company to match even better our offers to the individual wishes and needs of our travellers. These personalised quality improvements for our travellers are crucial for future growth and will help us to continuously stay one step ahead in the coming years”, explains Jansma, who fulfills the CEO role.
In 2014 and 2015 TravelBird invested €32 million in professionalising its digital infrastructure. The loan will be used to complete the final stages of the IT transition, which include, among others, the further optimisation of the site and personalisation of the app. The mezzanine financing has been structured as a loan because the co-founders wanted to prevent further dilution of the existing shares.
Details on the size of the loan have not been disclosed, although Lars van 't Hoenderdaal, CEO of Main Mezzanine, says that it represents the largest loan it has provided since the inception of its portfolio in Q2 2014 (analysts estimate the loan at around €5 million). Commenting on the decision to invest in TravelBird, he says that the private equity firm has been following the scale-up for quite some time now, and is impressed by the combination of international growth and, since Q3 2016, profitable operations. “TravelBird has a strong management team and we have faith in their abilities of continuing profitable growth.”
Netherlands based financial advisory firm Nielen Schuman acted as financial consultant to TravelBird.