Ten months ago London startup Duffel hinted that it would be “a new way to book travel online, aiming at the booking experience ‘end to end,’” and announced a healthy $4.7 million funding round, but not much else.
Today it goes further, announcing a $21.5 million in Series A funding from U.S. VC giant Benchmark, which also backed Snap, Twitter and Uber. Benchmark is joined by Blossom Capital and Index Ventures, which participated in Duffel’s $4.7 million seed round last year.
With this news, we at least get a little more detail. It will be a B2B offering, allowing individual travel agents at large online travel companies and tour operators to offer a “seamless travel experience” to their end customers, making the booking experience simpler, faster and cheaper.
Is this a new Sabre? Steve Domin, co-founder and CEO of Duffel, hints that it might be along those lines. “The travel industry is underpinned by archaic software and processes that are fundamentally prohibitive for the modern-day traveler. We are reinventing the underwiring between online agents and the providers — airlines, hotels, transport operators — in much the same way that the payments world is changing for merchants because of tools like Adyen and Stripe.”
In other words, Duffel appears to be building a new software stack for travel, in the same way that challenger banks started from scratch to make themselves more agile than the laggard, incumbent banks.
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