Tiqets co-founder and CEO, Luuc Elvinga [Credit: EU Startups / Tiqets]

Tiqets raises $60m in Series C round led by Airbnb

Netherlands: Amsterdam-based attraction booking startup Tiqets has raised $60 million in a Series C round led by Airbnb as the company looks to grow its platform and wider business interests.

Tiqets says it has already sold millions of tickets in over 60 countries around the world and its ambitions stretch beyond simply becoming a go-to travel platform for travellers to book experiences, hence Airbnb’s investment.

Previous backers HPE Growth and Investion also contributed to the round, bringing the total amount raised by Tiqets to $100 million to date. Its CEO and co-founder, Luuc Elzinga, did not disclose any other financial details including the startup’s overall valuation but said he was “really happy” with the number.

This is, for now, a financial investment for Airbnb rather than a strategic one. In other words, the two companies have yet to work together, said Elzinga, although that is the hope longer term.

Rather than a strategic investment for now, Elzinga says that it is a financial investment from Airbnb but that he hopes the two of them will work together more closely in the long-term.

He added: “Airbnb will be involved in the business and that’s interesting because we can also learn from how they scaled.”

Speaking to TechCrunch, Airbnb art and culture director Philippe Magid, hinted at possible collaboration between the pair in the future to boost their respective experiences offerings.

He said: “Travellers are seeking out a diverse range of experiences when they visit a new city. The Tiqets team has effectively used new technology to connect travellers to communities and we are excited to support their work.”

Tiqets believes it is tapping into an industry that is said to be worth around $160 billion in museum and attraction revenues, while capitalising on a shift that is seeing locals buy tickets to local attractions and museums in their own home towns and cities, as well as tourists from further afield.

The startup uses technology to provide a service that aims to meet the demands of more tech savvy visitors, incorporating those who buy tickets in advance or use mobile tickets through their phones to ensure a swift entry into a venue.

Founded in 2014, Tiqets partners with more than 3,000 museum groups and attractions, including perhaps most notably the Louvre in Paris, as well as 2,500 travel agencies and portals that integrate successfully with its own APIs to upsell customers with tickets to venues after they have booked their travels.

The investment by Airbnb indicates Tiqets is planning to expand its service into more attractions and reach out to a wider network of smaller towns outside of cities. Its platform already comes in 14 different languages and is adding increased localisation to help achieve this.

Meanwhile, Airbnb’s funding of Tiqets underpins its divergence into experiences, adventures and restaurant listings, which can now be found in different categories throughout its platform. In doing this, Airbnb can build up its revenue by giving travellers the sense of booking a more end-to-end trip that goes beyond its core business of renting out travel accommodation.

Elzinga told TechCrunch that Tiqets was not planning to go into performance or event seat ticketing, however.

He said: “Our focus and opportunity will continue to be museums and attractions.”

For more information, visit the Tiqets website here.

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