Elude Secures Additional Funding To Improve Travel Booking Experience
Alex Simon, CEO, and Frankie Scerbo, CMO, came up with the idea for the Los Angeles-based startup three years ago after bonding with a love of spontaneous travel, but haven’t found enough options within their budget.
Elude, a travel discovery mobile app, is a budget-driven search engine that shows people how far their money will take them. The platform’s personalized onboarding experience personalizes travel packages and offers future travel suggestions based on those preferences.
The new $ 3 million round was led by ATX Venture Partners, with participation from Mucker Capital, Unicorn Ventures, Upfront Scout Fund, StartupO, Grayson Capital, Gaingels, Maccabee Ventures and Flight VC. This brings Elude’s total funding to over $ 5 million.
âWe felt momentum in the wake of our launch in August and it has continued,â Simon said in an interview. âCurrent investors told us about our plan and what we wanted to accomplish and supported us. “
Indeed, with the expenses of millennials more than 200 billion dollars per year on travel, Elude’s goal is to reduce scrolling hours in search of travel and more time actively booking vacations. While competitors can view only flights or hotels, Elude offers flight and hotel packages.
The last funding will be used to hire engineers to help deploy the features. Elude launched on iOS, but plans to launch a web version and an Android version in the coming months. Other ongoing features include better personalization approaches to maximize recommendations and extend beyond flight and hotel. The company is also expanding its marketing and will introduce paid advertising.
So far, more than 25,000 users have signed up to use the app, most of the research coming from the coasts, Colorado and Texas, Scerbo noted.
Choosing which investors to include in the cycle, the co-founders said most of them had tried to travel before, and with industry demand returning after a shutdown during the pandemic, the number of travelers are slowly rising back to where they were in 2019.
âIt shows the momentum behind what we’re doing,â added Simon. “We used to show proof of concept, but now we show the demand and the conversation continue.”
With Elude attracting users from the Texas market, the co-founders said they were intrigued by ATX Venture Partners to lead the round. Chris Shonk, co-founder and partner at ATX, said his company was drawn to the company as well.
ATX Venture Partners likes to see companies do innovative things in industries that have survived, like travel, where there had been consolidation among venture-backed companies before.
Now there are sectors, like what Guild and Sonder are active in alternative accommodation and shop finders like Elude.
âFrom day one, Elude wanted to have a different approach where the community, content, brand and vibe were bold and fun,â Shonk said. âIt resonates well with the younger population, who have spent a tremendous amount of money on travel compared to other groups. “
He went on to say that the future of travel will have to be redefined: before it was just about business or pleasure, but today the answer is both or neither. With people now working from anywhere, the future of work is a gray line between work and fun, and startups are struggling to fix that.
While the redefinition is only just beginning, Shonk believes the travel industry is full of passionate founders “who have an emotional mission to get out and fix something that they’ve been through as a traveler, but they just don’t see enough. big and that’s good â.
“The whole industry is hyper-acquiring, and many startups have been swallowed up by Booking.com or Expedia,” he added. âThere are now crowds of $ 25 million to $ 50 million businesses being started here, but not a lot of billion dollar businesses. Frankie and Alex saw it differently, and are bold in their vision and in the planning of what to do and put in place. They are able to take that venture capital money and build a billion dollar business. “