US: San Diego-based mobile platform Sekr, which is setting out to simplify the outdoor travel experience, has announced the closing of a $2.25 million seed funding round.
The round was led by Storyteller Overland, Backstage Capital, Techstars, Ad Astra Ventures, Crescent Ridge Ventures, and Andy Ballester, co-founder of GoFundMe.
Described as a “women and minority-founded, crowdsourced mobile platform”, Sekr aims to make every step of the outdoor travel planning experience “easier, safer, and more social”. From full-time digital nomads to the occasional road tripper, the company is creating an inclusive community with access to more than 50,000 campsites, including the country’s largest database of free campsites.
After year one of the Covid-19 pandemic, interest in outdoor travel spiked—with notable increases among active and prospective campers, according to Statista. Correspondingly, Sekr reported seeing a 1530 per cent increase in user sessions from May 2020 to May 2021 and a 492 per cent increase in app users from August 2020 to August 2021.
Founded in 2018, Sekr plans to use the funding to expand its reservable inventory and grow its community initiatives, events and forums, such as its Project Respect Outdoors [PRO]. The PRO event unites business owners, non-profit leaders and disruptors who want to bring awareness to shared experiences and make the outdoor industry a more inclusive space.
Breanne Acio, co-founder and CEO of Sekr, said: “As women-led companies received only 2.4 per cent of venture capital in 2020, a decline from 2019, this raise is not only significant for its testament to the need of technological innovation in the camping industry, but also an important move in diversifying whom venture capitalists fund. We’re proud to work with a growing team of investors, employees, partners, and outdoor enthusiasts that are in pursuit of a higher quality of life through safe outdoor travel and community.”
Jeffrey Hunter, CEO at Storyteller Overland and lead investor in Sekr’s funding round, said: “The camping industry is one of the only hospitality verticals yet to successfully adopt technology, and Sekr seized the opportunity to digitise campsite inventory at scale, transforming the outdoor planning process from a frustrating loop of hours of failed Google searches into something consumers can do by themselves.
“Like the leaders before them in the hotel and vacation rental verticals, we believe the Sekr team is uniquely positioned to have the largest influence and impact on the outdoor travel planning experience for the nearly three-fourths of Americans who participate in outdoor travel annually,” he added.