Paris-based startup Leavy.co, which offers a travel app to help millennials finance their travel plans, has raised $14 million.
Leavy kept the Seed funding round quiet — it actually closed in January. The funding round was led by Dutch investor Prime Ventures, with participation from angel investor Dominique Vidal (a partner at Index Ventures). As a result of the funding, Pieter Welten, a partner at Prime Ventures, secured a seat on Leavy’s board.
Founded in 2017 by CEO Aziza Chaouachi, the app has been described as a “travel community and marketplace” that wants to help millennials travel for less. Travelers (called “Happy Leavers”) are able to rent out their rooms or apartments when they are away to help pay for their trips, while other members (dubbed “Hosts on Demand”) get paid to manage the Leavy booking.
Most important, Leavy provides members with cash up front, whether or not they successfully rent out their places before the trip. That means, if a place is never rented while a member is away, the company loses money.
“We are the first pure-scale marketplace that takes a risk for its users,” Chaouachi told reports. “As network orchestrators, we generate profit with dynamic pricing. Our tech is obsessed with finding the optimal point of satisfaction for every user."
The Leavy.co app also rewards members with travel credit (Leavy Coins) when they invite friends to join, share travel tips and recommendations, or post photos to the app.
The company said its network has grown to more than 65,000 millennials, with 60 percent being women. Leavy has 100 employees, with offices in Paris, Amsterdam, London, Madrid, Rome and Lisbon. There are plans to launch in the U.S. by the end of this year.
“We are a brand new actor within the travel space, the next generation of [online travel agency (OTA)],” said Chaouachi. “But unlike other OTAs, such as traditional search engines like Booking.com, or short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, we don’t offer yet another item the Instagram-generation will never be able to buy: We actually boost their buying power instead."