Startup Wants To Disrupt How Train Tickets Are Bought (Hooray)

As much fun as it is to ride a high-speed train across Europe, it's just about that miserable to buy the tickets online. But Paris-based travel startup Capitaine Train is working to make the ticket purchase as smooth and quick as the train ride -- and it just raised another $6.3 million (€5.5 million) to expand, TechCrunch reported on Tuesday (Dec. 2).

The Series B round was led by Alven Capital, with additional money from current investors Index Ventures and CM-CIC Capital Prive, along with French incubator TheFamily, Liligo founder Pierre Bonelli, and Xavier Niel.

The new money will be used to expand beyond the 11 carriers that Capitaine Train current offers tickets for, increase its customer base (currently at 460,000) and strengthen its team, the company said in a blog post (translated to English here). One of the first new hires will be former German railroad executive Daniel Beutler, who will join Capitaine Train as COO in January.

As good as the startup's website and mobile apps already are -- and as quickly as they are improving (for example, the iPhone app added iOS 8 and Touch ID support for payments shortly after they were released) -- Capitaine Train is trying to disrupt national railroad monopolies in a low-margin business. The company needs to sell tens of millions of tickets per year to make money, TechCrunch suggests, instead of the 5,000 tickets per day.

And while Capitaine Train works especially well in France and Germany, it needs better integration across the continent, especially in countries that don't currently have a unifying platform for buying tickets and trip planning.



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