Expedia buys majority stake in SilverRail

Rail distribution platform SilverRail Technologies is now majority owned by Expedia Inc.

Terms have not been disclosed.

The deal marks the end of an eight-year journey as an independent business for the UK-based company.

SilverRail was created by Aaron Gowell (CEO) and Will Phillipson (president) in 2009, billed initially as a GDS for trains, which has since expanded to offices in Sweden, Australia and the US.

The company has raised a hefty $69 million over the course of four rounds since its inception (TLabs here), in a bid to push its rail ticketing and train operator distribution platform.

The most recent investment came in April 2014 when Mithril Capital Management led a massive round of $40 million that also featured previous backers Canaan Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Brook Venture Partners.

Gowell had earlier managed to attract $29 million in seed and series A and B funding, as well as a $3 million as part of a tuck-in acquisition.

The $40 million Series C was considered a monster round when compared with the industrywide median for Series C, according to a report at the time by research firm Pitchbook.

SilverRail’s most high-profile partnership to date was probably with Expedia, when it secured an agreement to power search and ticketing of rail services on the online travel agency.

Orbitz-owned Ebookers (both now part of the Expedia empire) was the first major OTA to work with SilverRail.

Phillipson had previously worked for Wandrian, a US-based startup with much the same mission as SilverRail.

Expedia Inc CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, says:

“Rail is ready for an online revolution, and we’re ready to be a part of it. Rail’s shift online is one of the fastest growing areas of innovation in the $1.3 trillion travel market, and SilverRail is powering that innovation.

“We are tremendously excited to welcome the incredibly talented SilverRail team into the Expedia family.”

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