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Taking flight with Tourlane: Bringing specialty travel online

Andrew Reed

Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer

At Sequoia we strive to partner with companies that create lasting influences on their customers.

A great trip leaves a permanent imprint.

We’ve long been excited about the intersection of technology and travel. It’s a market that holds the potential to build beloved and dent-making consumer companies. The opportunities in the space are global. We’re fortunate to be partnered today with companies like Airbnb, Meituan-Dianping, Oyo Rooms and Traveloka that are transforming the industry around the world, and in prior years have worked with Kayak, ITA, Skyscanner, and Despegar, among others.

In a market where so much of the discovery and transaction experience has moved online, specialty travel remains one of the last bastions of offline bookings. Until recently, there was no way for individuals to efficiently design custom experiences, such as those with multiple or remote destinations.

That’s why our ears perked up when we first heard about Tourlane. We knew Tourlane’s co-founders had notable backgrounds — Julian Stiefel at Airbnb and Julian Weselek at Rocket Internet — and when they described their vision for the Berlin-based company, we instantly began dreaming about its potential.

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Given the complexity of arranging multi-day trips with countless documents and reservations, Julian and Julian had to reimagine what an online travel company should look like. The result is a unique business, both complementary to much of the online travel industry and poised to reshape the existing model of offline booking via agencies and operators. Tourlane’s vertically integrated technology platform allows travelers to customize their itineraries and bundles flights, accommodations and activities together for a seamless experience. The company’s fingerprints extend beyond the booking into the trip itself, and they are building an engaged and loyal customer base that will pay dividends in the years to come.

The early reviews of Tourlane are fantastic, and, even amid a $100B+ market, it’s easy to see how such a category-redefining product could expand the market to an entirely new cohort of travelers.

That’s why we’re delighted to announce that we recently led a $24M Series B alongside existing investors Spark Capital, DN Capital, and HV Holtzbrinck.

We’re eager to embark on this journey with Julian and Julian; the entire Tourlane team; our friends at Spark, DN and HV Holtzbrinck; and the company’s incredibly supportive angel investors and advisors, including Nate Blecharczyk from Airbnb, Johannes Reck from Get Your Guide, Rolf Schrömgens from Trivago, Wolfgang Heigl from Swoodoo and Hometogo and Fritz Demopolous from Qunar.

The global flow of technology-empowered travelers is a tailwind we’ll be thrilled to ride for decades, and we’re confident this partnership will be at the very least as fun-filled, efficient and rewarding as a Tourlane vacation.

Originally published on Medium.com.