Stride, a startup that provides group travel packages and describes itself as offering “experiential multi-day and multi-destination packaged trips planned by experts,” has raised $2.5 million in a seed funding round from JetBlue Ventures and NFX, according to a report by TechCrunch.
The company was launched in 2016 by ex-Starwood Hotels and Viator exec Gavin Delany. It recently introduced a feature called TripFinder, which lets people search from more than 30,000 travel itineraries.
Delany said he started the company because of the issues he ran into while trying to find a guide to hike the Inca Trail in Peru.
“At the time, there was no platform that allowed you to search and compare different itineraries and operators,” he said. Stride wants to help people do just that, find the right operator for whatever type of tour they’re seeking.
Most of the company’s audience skews older, with more expendable income and a desire to see the world.
“They have the time, they have the money and they have the inclination to see the world. They want their adventure, but they want their comfort, too,” Delany said.
Delany added that he’s seeing a lot of interest from younger people as well, who want to book smaller or private tours. TripFinder aids in this by asking a few personal questions about a person or group and what they want, how much time they have and what style of travel they’d like.
Delany’s previous work in the travel industry helped prepare him when he needed to find investors, especially with JetBlue.
“We had been in conversations with JetBlue Ventures for about a year before they ended up investing. We just had that relationship and sharing what our vision was,” Delany said.
What most attracted JetBlue, he said, was the type of user engagement Stride was seeing. Stride had upwards of $330 million in bookings for tours in 2018, and it is looking to exceed $1 billion in 2019.