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Flight-free travel pioneer Byway is raising £5m to help take fare-based travel mainstream



Rail travel is far more carbon efficient than previously thought, according to a rail industry group that has commissioned a new tool for calculating emissions.

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

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

As demand for sustainable travel continues to grow – 76% of travelers want to travel more sustainably and 47% plan to fly less – Byway is leading the way in making flight-free holidays mainstream. Since its launch in March 2020, Byway has grown three times year over year. With an average CO2 saving of 718 kg per trip, Byway customers have saved 3,045 tonnes of CO2 compared to flying, equivalent to planting 18,270 trees. An impressive 95% of Byway customers rated the service 5 out of 5 stars.

Byway’s innovative JourneyAI technology is the world’s first 100% flight-free vacation planner. It integrates transportation and accommodation data with expert, place and trip-based content in a smart, dynamic packaging engine that designs multi-stop, personalized trips away from tourist hotspots. JourneyAI optimizes travel for pleasure rather than speed, enriching vacation experiences for travelers and making the journey part of the journey rather than just a means to an end.

The recent funding round was led by Heartcore Capital, known for its investments in technology companies that bring happiness and enchantment to the world, including GetYourGuide, Travelperk and Fora. Eka Ventures, focused on sustainable consumption, also participated, along with reinvesting Byway angels including the HERmesa angel syndicate, impact investor Julia Davies and Susan Hooper, former CEO of SAGA.

With the new investment, Byway plans to expand its team, enter new markets and further develop its flight-free travel technology. In the coming months, Byway will be hiring for roles in technology, product, finance, business development and customer support. Vacancies will be available on their website and LinkedIn page.

Cat Jones, CEO and Founder of Byway, expressed her excitement: “It was a pleasure to experience such overwhelming interest from investors excited about the future of flight-free travel in raising our Series A. I’m thrilled that With Heartcore and Eka I have found partners who believe in the fun of travel-based vacations and the potential of JourneyAI to change travel for the better.”

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