Multi-day tours marketplace and platform Evaneos has picked up £60 million ($80 million) in funding from new and existing investors, with cofounder and president Eric La Bonnardière looking to take the European-focused brand global, starting in the US.
He told tnooz that Evaneos has been “testing [its] platform in the US for over a year and will ready for a larger scale launch in early 2019”
“We have inventory in the US for European travellers, but we want to build a service for US travellers visiting Europe. We’ve had to adapt the concept a bit and look at how the tours are offered, because US travellers tend to take shorter trips, spend less time in destinations.
“Our long-term plan is to build a global brand.”
Evaneos is based in Paris and operates in nine major European markets, focusing on consumers in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK. It says that more than 300,000 travellers have booked using the site, and that it has an email database of around one million people. “We’ve built this organically via registrations on our web site,” he explained.
The email database is part of its consumer marketing arsenal, alongside the usual suspects of paid and organic search. It is also testing TV ad campaigns in France, Germany and Italy.
“We’re taking the approach that the site needs to be inspirational and there’s a lot of focus on content. If we inspire through content then the bookings will follow.”
La Bonnardière also explained that content would have a central role in developing Evaneos’ long-standing commitment to sustainable tourism, in the context of concerns around overtourism.
“In twenty years the number of tourists will double, so the industry really needs to think about this. Our take is that by generating inspirational content and having bookable inventory we can get travellers to think about different destinations, or different locations within popular destinations. It’s about investing in curiosity.”
Content is one of the four areas earmarked to benefit from the latest round, alongside product, data and e-merchandising. Evaneos hopes to add some 70 new positions in these areas by the end of 2019, bringing the total workforce up to 250. Of the 180 staff currently employed, 40 are developers.
It will also step up its inventory acquisition through partnerships with local agents and wants 1800 local partners live on the site by the end of next year, up from 1,300, selling tours in 160 countries.
The latest funding round is Evaneos’ fourth, according to the press release. Its Crunchbase entry puts the total raised so far – including the latest round – at $109 million.
Partech, a global investment firm with offices in San Francisco, Paris, Berlin and Dakar, and US specialist Level Equity are new investors and led the current round. Quadrille Capital was also involved for the first time, with current backers XAnge, Serena Capital, and Bpifrance contributing.