UK / France: Travel and lifestyle app Leavy.co has raised $14 million in seed round funding this year.
The app offers millennials a chance to travel more without burdening them with more debt.
The investment round, which closed in private in January according to TechCrunch, was led by Dutch investor Prime Ventures, with participation from angel investor Dominique Vidal. Pieter Welten, a partner at Prime Ventures, has now joined Leavy’s board.
Founded in 2017 by CEO Aziza Chaouachi [a then student] and co-founders, Yassine Ben Romdhane (COO) and Mario Moinet (chief strategy officer), the Leavy.co app has been labelled a ‘travel community and marketplace’ to help millennials travel more for less.
Its offering centres around providing a way for travellers (otherwise known as ‘Happy Leavers’) to rent out their room or apartment to help fund their own trip away when they are not there. Other members (‘Hosts on Demand’) are then paid to act as a local host and manage the Leavy booking via the app.
Leavy claims that its unique selling point [USP] is giving members cash up front when they make their space available prior to travelling, regardless of whether or not the property is booked up.
Speaking to TechCrunch, Chaouachi said: “We are the first pure-scale marketplace that takes a risk for its users. As network orchestrators, we generate profit with dynamic pricing and our tech is obsessed with finding the optimal point of satisfaction for every user.”
Furthermore, the Leavy.co app rewards members with travel credit – or Leavy Coins – when they invite friends to join them and share travel advice and recommendations, or when posting photos on the app. They can then spend the credit on a number of products that are suitable for travellers.
Chaouachi said the company is particularly keen to help out millennials who can rack up significant debts from studying in higher education but still have a burning desire to travel and broaden their horizons.
She said: “As millennials, we go broke the second we decide to get an education or a credit card.
“Buying a house like our parents is not an option, so we crave that weekend trip to Lisbon to lift our spirits before we go back to work on Monday. Once our outrageous rents have been paid out, it is the only air we can afford and — most of all — post about.
“The travel industry is the second-fastest-growing sector and it is so at our expense, since we are its largest spenders,” she added.
To that end, Leavy.co says its community network has grown to more than 65,000 millennials, and women, interestingly, account for 60 per cent of that figure. It already has 100 employees across six markets, with offices in Paris, Amsterdam, London, Madrid, Rome and Lisbon respectively.
Leavy.co also has a strategy in place to open an office in the United States by the end of the year.
Chaouachi told TechCrunch: “We are a brand new actor within the travel space, the next generation of OTA (online travel agency).
“Unlike other OTAs, however, such as traditional search engines like Booking.com, or short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, we don’t offer yet another item the Instagram-generation will never be able to buy: we actually boost their buying power instead,” she added.
For more information, visit the Leavy.co website here.