Puma Private Equity takes stake in travel business

Image by Julita from Pixabay

The Manchester office of Puma Private Equity has led the £8.3m series B investment round into global tailor-made holidays brand and managed marketplace TravelLocal.

Puma Private Equity, which Mark Lyons joined earlier this year invested alongside Active Partners and Gresham House Ventures to accelerate TravelLocal’s growth.

Channel 4 Ventures also recently increased its media-for-equity investment.

TravelLocal, which runs an online managed marketplace and operates from offices in Berlin and Bristol, will use the new  funding to support international growth, including investment in its platform and further brand marketing.

TravelLocal’s model is revolutionising tailor-made holidays, by connecting its customers directly with a network of 271 handpicked, trusted local travel experts and has built a customer base of 70,000 since it started in 2016,

The Series B funding round follows the highly successful merger in July 2021 of TravelLocal (UK) and Trip.me (Germany), both now fully integrated under the TravelLocal brand.

Alistair Daly, the former marketing chief of Manchester-based On the Beach, is also a board advisor and investor in the business.

Mark Lyons, investment director at Puma Private Equity, said: “Although incomes are being squeezed in the current environment, travel continues to be a priority expenditure for many and baby boomers are spending $120bn annually on leisure travel.

“We believe there is huge scope for TravelLocal to grow and continue transforming the tailor-made holiday industry.

“We are really encouraged by the strength of the management team and the resilience of the business post its merger in 2021 which has significantly increased its global reach. This investment will enable the team to do more to engage with their target audience, in particular their expanding base of US clients.”

Lyons joined Puma Private Equity off the back of its biggest fund raise to date, and is charged with supporting its expansion in the North, with the creation of a new office in Manchester in the coming months. Mark will be part of a growing Puma presence in the region, designed to capitalise on the increasing number of Northern businesses in the scale-up to Series A space.

Tom Stapleton, chief executive of TraveLocal added: “TravelLocal has performed very strongly again coming out of the pandemic as people travel extensively – and increasingly with a strong desire to do so in a more sustainable, meaningful way, that supports local people and economies.

“Our unique business model enables everyone to do just that. This funding round reflects the excellent growth opportunity we now have, and the first class team we have built to tackle it.”

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