— Travel n Tour

YouTravel.Me packs up $1M to match travelers with curated small group adventures – TechCrunch

YouTravel.I am the latest startup to grab some venture capital dollars as the travel industry gets back on its feet amid the global pandemic. Over the past month, we’ve seen companies like Thatch raise $3 million for its platform aimed at travel creators, travel tech company Hopper bring in $175 million, Wheel the World grab $2 million for its disability-friendly vacation planner; Elude raises $2.1 million to bring spontaneous travel back to a hard-hit industry and Wanderlog bag $1.5 million for its free travel itinerary platform.

Today you travel. Olga Bortnikova, her husband Ivan Bortnikov, and Evan Mikheev founded Europe three years ago. MAfterraising $1 million, I joined them to continue developing its online platform for matching like-minded travelers to small-group adventures organized by travel experts. Start VC led the round and was joined by Liqvest.com, Mission Gate, and individual investors like Bas Godska, general partner at Acrobator Ventures. The idea for the company came to Bortnikova and Bortnikov when a trip to China went awry after a tour operator sold them a package where excursions turned out to be trips to souvenir shops.


One delayed flight and other mishaps along the way, and the pair went looking for better travel experiences and a way to share them with others. They decided to create it when they couldn’t find what they were looking for. “It’s hard for adults to make friends, but when you are on a two-week trip with just 15 people in a group, you form a deep connection and share the same language and experiences,” Bortnikova told TechCrunch. “That’s our secret sauce — we want to connect.”

Since 2018, CEO Bortnikova has said that you travel. Much like a dating app, you travel. Me’s algorithms connect travelers to trips and getaways based on their interests, values, and experiences. Matched individuals can connect with each via chat or voice, work with a travel expert and complete their reservations. They also have a BeGuide offering for travel experts to research and create itineraries.

I have become the top travel marketplace in Eastern Europe, amassing over 15,900 tours in 130 countries and attracting over 10,000 travelers and 4,200 travel experts to the platform. It was starting to branch out to international sales in 2020 when the global pandemic hit. “Sales and tourism crashed down, and we didn’t know what to do,” she said. “We found that we have more than 4,000 travel experts on our site, and they feel lonely because the pandemic was a test of the industry. We understood that and built a community and educational product for them on how to build and scale their business.”

After a McKinsey study showed that adventure travel was recovering faster than other industry sectors, the founders decided to go after that market, becoming part of 500 Startups at the end of 2020. As a result, you travel. I doubled its revenue while still a bootstrapped company, but I wanted to enter the North American market. The new funding will be deployed into marketing in the U.S., hiring and attracting more travel experts, technology and product development, and increasing gross merchandise value to $2.7

million per month by the end of 2021, Bortnikov said. The goal is to grow the number of trips to 20,000 and its travel experts to 6,000 by the beginning of next year. Gorska, also an angel investor, learned about your travel. Me from a mutual friend. At the same time, he was vacationing in Sri Lanka, one of the very few tourists. Gorska was previously involved in online travel as part of Orbitz in Europe and Russia, selling tour packages before setting up a venture capital fund.

“I was sitting in the jungle with a bad internet connection, and it sparked my interest,” he said. “When I spoke with them, I felt the innovation and this bright vibe of how they do this. It instantly attracted me to help support them. The whole curated thing is an exciting movie. Independent travelers that want to travel in groups are not touched much by the traditional sector.”

Katie Axon

After leaving the corporate world to pursue my dreams, I started writing because it helped me organize and express myself. It also allowed me to connect with people who share my passion for art, travel, fashion, technology, health, and food. I currently write on vexsh, a site focused on sharing and discovering what it means to be a creative, passionate person living in today's digital age.

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