Flight-free travel pioneer Byway raises £5M to make journey-based travel mainstream

ByTravelling For Business

July 9, 2024
For better or worse, Brexit has happened. In a short time, the United Kingdom can be expected to leave the single market and strike out on its own.

Byway, the travel tech startup and B Corporation championing flight-free travel, has raised £5 million in an oversubscribed Series A funding round.

This round was led by Heartcore Capital, with participation from Eka Ventures and re-investing Byway angels. The new funds will be used to accelerate the development of Byway’s unique journey-planning technology, JourneyAI, and to fuel its expansion into new regions.

As the demand for sustainable travel continues to grow, with 76% of travellers wanting to travel more sustainably and 47% planning to fly less, Byway is at the forefront of making flight-free holidays mainstream. Since its launch in March 2020, Byway has experienced threefold year-on-year growth. Byway’s customers have saved an average of 718kg of carbon per trip, amounting to a total carbon saving of 3,045 tonnes compared to flying, which is equivalent to planting 18,270 trees. Impressively, 95% of Byway customers have rated their experience 5/5 stars.

Byway’s innovative JourneyAI technology is the world’s first 100% flight-free holiday planner. This technology integrates transport and accommodation data with expert place- and journey-based content into a dynamic packaging engine that designs multi-stop, personalised trips away from tourist hotspots. JourneyAI optimises trips for enjoyment rather than speed, enriching holiday experiences and making the journey an integral part of the trip.

The recent funding round was led by Heartcore Capital, which invests in tech companies that bring happiness and enchantment to the world and has led investments in GetYourGuide, Travelperk, and Fora. Eka Ventures, focusing on sustainable consumption, also participated, along with re-investing Byway angels, including the HERmesa angel syndicate, impact investor Julia Davies, and former SAGA CEO Susan Hooper.

With the new investment, Byway plans to expand its team, launch new markets, and further develop its flight-free travel technology. Over the coming months, Byway will be hiring for roles in tech, product, finance, business development, and customer support.

“It was a delight to experience such overwhelming interest from investors enthusiastic about the future of flight-free travel when raising our Series A. I’m thrilled that in Heartcore and Eka we’ve found partners who believe in the joy of journey-based holidays and the potential of JourneyAI to change travel for the better,” said Cat Jones, CEO and Founder of Byway.

Max Niederhofer, General Partner of Heartcore Capital, added: “Heartcore has been investing in world-class founders building the future of travel for over a decade. We felt called to support Byway’s mission to make tourism both more fulfilling and sustainable, and believe that its technology will become a key pillar for the next generation of online travel. We are thrilled to be supporting another world-class European team in travel and particularly love Byway’s collaborative, supportive, and holistic mission-driven culture.”