Toronto-based Eddy Travels, which has created a virtual travel bot to help consumers find deals on flights and accommodation, has added $912,000 CAD (€600,000) to its pre-seed round. This addition brings the total capital raised in the round to $1.67 million CAD (€1.1 million).
“Eddy Travels is in a unique position to use this pause and emerge strongly to serve the new needs of travellers.”
The investment was led by Baltic venture capital investment firm Practica Capital, and saw participation from Open Circle Capital, Techstars Toronto, and angel investors. The investment comes four months after the startup raised an initial $760,000 CAD (€500,000). Eddy Travels will use the new investment to develop features aimed at helping travellers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Donatas Keras, partner at Practica Capital, noted how the travel industry has been severely hit due to the COVID-19 impact, adding that he believes traveller habits might change as a result.
“Eddy Travels is in a unique position to use this pause and emerge strongly to serve the new needs of travellers and the travel industry with natural language processing and personalization technology,” said Keras. “We have been with the company already for a year and based on Eddy Travels growth and a plan to use new opportunities, we are leading Eddy Travels pre-seed round.”
Eddy Travel was founded by Edmundas Balčikonis in Lithuania, but moved headquarters to Toronto when it participated in Techstars Toronto’s 2019 cohort. The company’s virtual travel assistant uses natural language processing to help travellers quickly find flights, hotels, restaurants, and travel insurance quickly. Artificial intelligence is integrated into the application so users can send voice commands to the application for faster responses.
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The solution works on platforms including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Telegram. Since launching, Eddy Travels said two million users have sent voice and text messages to find travel deals. The company used funds from the initial pre-seed close in December to extend the capabilities of its assistant as well as develop its natural language capability.
“The numbers show that travellers around the world already require advanced yet simple to use solutions to plan travel, and new needs will emerge after the COVID-19 crisis,” said Will Cardwell, partner at Open Circle Capital. “We believe that additional investment and the founders’ experience will help Eddy Travels to emerge as one of the top travel tech startups.”
Once the COVID-19 pandemic is contained and the travel restrictions are lifted, Eddy Travels said it will continue its expansion to new markets. The startup has posted a list of resources and advice for travellers, pertaining to the virus, on its blog.
Image source Eddy Travels