Culture Trip, a regionally focused travel and cultural content portal, has raised a chunky $80 million in a series B round of funding led by PPF Group, with participation from a number of individual angel investors.
Founded in 2011, London-based Culture Trip’s goal is to “inspire people to explore the world’s culture and creativity.” To do this, the company offers a website and mobile app featuring words, photos, and videos from an in-house editorial team, in addition to hundreds of paid local contributors around the world.
With hubs in London, New York, and Tel Aviv, Culture Trip had raised around $22 million in funding before now. And with another $80 million in the bank, the company plans to expand its engineering and creative teams to “fuel innovation, drive further audience growth, and roll out various monetization strategies,” according to a statement.
Certainly, $80 million is a sizable chunk of cash for what is a fairly under-the-radar travel content startup, and it further illustrates that larger earlier-stage investment rounds are no longer confined to Silicon Valley. But digital media startups aren’t exactly renowned for their ability to generate large profits, which is why Culture Trip has one eye on expanding beyond content to travel bookings. Later this year, it will hook its content in with direct links to book hotels and other “experience providers.” Culture Trip’s content will effectively serve as the driving force behind its new online travel booking division.
For now, Culture Trip also makes some money through affiliate sales with companies such as ASOS and Amazon, and it also plans to expand its ecommerce offering in future to cover related industries, such as art and fashion.
“I started Culture Trip with the ambition of applying my long-standing passion for global culture and creativity to building a tech company that could innovate in this space,” noted Culture Trip founder and CEO Dr. Kris Naudts. “With this game-changing investment, Culture Trip is focused on improving the current user experience and value proposition with the aim of building a leading global consumer brand that will disrupt the media and travel industries through its creative content and tech.”
Culture Trip has also recently made a duo of key hires from big tech firms, with ex-Facebooker Mike Fox joining the company as chief marketing officer (CMO) and former YouTube head of global sales Dick Soule signing on as chief revenue officer (CRO). The company also claims a number of interesting individuals on its board of directors, including Google Assistant product lead Yariv Adan and Dr. Nelson Mattos, formerly vice president of engineering at Google for EMEA. Elsewhere, Culture Trip’s current chief product officer (CPO), Nick Jakobi, has nearly a decade of product management experience at Google and Facebook.
Alongside its funding news, Culture Trip also introduced an aesthetic makeover, including a new logo and color palette, as well as a handful of new features, such as Google Maps integration, planning tools, and wish lists.
Culture Trip currently claims more than 13 million unique visitors each month, a figure it is hoping to increase significantly following its latest funding. “With this investment and quality of leadership, Culture Trip is now ready to enter a new phase of hyper-growth,” added Naudts.
Culture Trip isn’t the only travel content property to raise venture capitalist cash recently. New York-based Atlas Obscura, which is setting out to become the “National Geographic for millennials,” recently closed a $7.5 million investment round to expand into video and grow its event and trip business.