British travel tech company Duffel has raised $30m from investors to launch its innovative new booking platform with some of the world’s biggest airlines, including American Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa Group, Aegean Airlines, Vueling, Iberia.
Duffel enables travel agencies to plug in directly to airlines’ reservation systems via an API so that they can pull real-time flight offers, make bookings, access live seat availability, and buy extra services.
Until now, new digital and mobile travel agencies – Duffel’s target market – have long lead times and high costs to access clunky flight booking systems, legacy APIs and outdated, cryptic screens.
By giving agents a way to connect instantly with airlines, Duffel represents the biggest shakeup of the travel sector since the launch of budget air travel.
Index Ventures, the backers of Adyen, Dropbox and Slack, led the Series B round, and were joined by existing investors Benchmark Capital and Blossom Capital.
Just as fintech companies are connecting the fragmented world of payments and finance, Duffel brings together airlines so travel agents can swiftly assemble an end-to-end experience for their clients.
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Online and mobile travel companies, including corporate travel bookers, are able to see live seat availability from the world’s biggest airlines, as well as additional offers on in-flight meals or luggage allocations.
Steve Domin, co-founder and CEO of Duffel, said: “A new breed of online agencies want to access reservation systems quickly and seamlessly. By reinventing the underwiring between online agents and airlines we can transform the world of travel booking and reduce barriers to entry for innovative new companies that are offering travellers a whole new way of creating a holiday or trip.”
Jan Hammer, partner at Index Ventures, added: “We are incredibly impressed by the Duffel team, who we have supported since the days of their seed funding. There is an opportunity here to transform the booking experience for travellers and ease many of the pain points in the industry.
“From the launch of budget airlines to sharing economy businesses like Airbnb, travel has changed and Duffel will provide the tools, built from the ground up, that make the next wave of innovation possible.”
Duffel will use the new funds to hire more engineers and increase its broader team. It is focusing on expanding in North America and Europe, with its first customers drawn from the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany and Spain.