UK: Halal-friendly travel booking platform HalalBooking has announced that it has received $5 million in investment, in anticipation for a larger $20 million campaign to raise Series B funding.
Headquartered in London, the company, which lists hotel and villa accommodation, has secured the $5 million in funding from a group of private angel investors, including British Business Bank, which comes in the form of a pre-Series B convertible loan agreement.
HalalBooking is currently in talks with a number of unnamed venture capital and private equity funds to become the lead investor for the remaining $15 million, which could give the company a valuation of up to $75 million. The incoming investment will be used to fuel its growth for the next three years before potentially going public via an initial public offering [IPO] in 2024.
It previously raised $2.1 million in a Series A round at the end of 2019 from a group of angel investors and Azerbaijani investor Azar Gurbanov, which earned the firm a $52.5 million valuation.
Though HalalBooking’s year-on-year growth rate accelerated to more than 100 per cent at the start of 2020, the company was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, before its sales stabilised by Q3, and it expects further growth in 2021.
HalalBooking CEO Elnur Seyidli said: “We are in a great position to resume our exponential growth now. I feel confident that we are bouncing back strongly.
“We have a strong brand and have weathered the Covid pandemic well. We managed to retain all of our staff and used the time wisely to develop a lot of new tech.
“The travel industry in general may take three-four years to recover to 2019 levels, but we are in the best sector of the travel industry – we are in leisure rather than business; and in accommodation rather than flights. The “leisure accommodation” sector should see a strong recovery this year in Q3 and Q4.
“So for a brand like ours, which had 100 per cent growth trajectory pre-Covid, it should not be surprising if we are able to resume our exponential growth this year. And with the $20 million Series B investment, $5 million of which we have already secured, we can now accelerate our growth rate even further,” he added.
In July, HalalBooking announced a partnership with global online travel agency Expedia to help it weather the global pandemic and reach a wider audience.
The website now has more than 200,000 customers from more than 100 countries and more than 2,000 affiliate agency partners providing a service to halal-conscious travellers, as well as over 83,000 properties in more than 50 countries around the world, which can be filtered down to availability of halal good, alcohol-free areas, and ladies-only and private family swimming pools, spas and beaches.
Founded in 2009 by a group of Muslims with senior management experience from travel and blue-chip companies, HalalBooking allows searches for halal-friendly facilities and services in listings such as beach resorts, hotels, thermal resorts and spas, and luxury villas with private pools.
In 2019, the company was named as the UK’s fastest-growing and Europe’s eighth fastest-growing company in the travel sector in the Financial Times’ FT 1000.