London and Sydney-based Seatfrog, a provider of rail and airline upgrades through live bidding for seats, has raised $6 million in Series A funding. Octopus Ventures led the round.
10 June 2018 — Seatfrog, the technology company revolutionizing rail and airline upgrades through live bidding for seats on mobile right up to departure, today announced a $6 million Series A funding round, led by one of Europe’s most successful Venture Capital firms, Octopus Ventures.
Octopus Ventures is the London and New York based venture capital firm behind highly successful businesses such as Secret Escapes and Zoopla Property Group. Existing investors, including HOWZAT Partners (the investment team behind Trivago), also participated in the latest funding round.
Seatfrog unlocks significant revenue opportunities for trains and airlines by auctioning premium seats — guaranteed to travel empty — right up until the time of departure, unlike any other technology in the market. According to Seatfrog’s research, more than 37 million premium seats fly empty annually across the top 30 airlines and 480 million across the top seven European rail providers.
In September 2017, Seatfrog disrupted the travel industry and launched a world-first with Virgin Trains: enabling customers to upgrade right up to 15 minutes before departure from the palm of their hand with just a few taps of their smartphone.
The technology startup, which now has offices in London and Sydney, is expanding at an incredible pace with over 130% growth month on month and has just won ‘Europe’s Hottest Travel Startup’ at the Europa awards. It has seen its clients increase revenues by over 100% and user conversion rates sky rocket above industry standards to 56% – unheard of in the travel industry which has struggled to monetize last-minute ancillary revenues effectively.
The pioneering startup is now poised to build on its early success, using the funding to fulfil huge market demand globally for its innovative technology from both rail and airline firms. The $6 million cash injection will allow Seatfrog to bolster its already impressive team with senior hires across both its London and Sydney offices to accelerate the company’s growth as well as significantly expanding product capability.
“Every year billions of dollars in unrealised ancillary revenue passes by because of manual, fragmented legacy processes. We set out a year ago to prove there is a much better way and we’ve done that.” Iain Griffin, CEO and co-founder of Seatfrog said.
“Seatfrog’s technology brings a mobile solution to market designed for the passengers of today. We enable the travel industry to move much faster and evolve their ancillary strategies through intelligent use of real time data, giving their passengers’ an intuitive, mobile-first experience that fits with their busy lives.”
Suzanne Donnelly, Head of Commercial LNER commented, “Seatfrog has been a huge success for Virgin and now for LNER. Supremely intuitive for our passengers and delivering excellent commercial performance, our team loves working with such a fast moving, forward thinking partner.”
Luke Hakes, Partner at Octopus Ventures added: “We are thrilled to be leading the funding round and to be joining the board of a Seatfrog, which we feel has the opportunity to make a fundamental difference to the way consumers approach the challenges of travelling. Having seen the impact of dynamic revenue management systems within hotels and airlines, we feel there is a very interesting opportunity in applying this approach to the multi-billion dollar train travel industry. Seatfrog is exactly the kind of forward-thinking technology with a powerful brand, that we want to invest in. Octopus Ventures looks forward to being part of Seatfrog’s journey and playing a role in supporting the team and taking the business to new heights across many geographies.”
“Without question, Seatfrog is the platform that the industry has been waiting for to improve the upgrade experience. Ancillary revenue strategies across the travel industry are fragmented and there is a lot of untapped potential, particularly in relation to the same-day upgrade process,” said David Soskin, co-founder and partner at HOWZAT. “Seatfrog has been experiencing the sort of demand we expected which presents a significant opportunity.”
Luke Hakes from Octopus will be joining the already powerful advisory board of industry heavyweights including ex Qantas Airlines CEO Simon Hickey and the executive team at HOWZAT Partners, comprising former Cheapflights CEO David Soskin, Hugo Burge, and Sascha Hausmann.
For more information about Seatfrog, visit www.seatfrog.com.