The tours and experiences market is rapidly growing, and analysts predict that it will be worth $183 billion in 2020. One particular startup, ToursByLocals, aims to capitalize on this trend. The company has gotten a significant investment in a funding round to aid its expansion, according to a report.
The company sources guides in about 162 countries and links them up with tourists, either for one-on-one tours or group tours. On Monday (Jan. 13), ToursByLocals announced a $25 million investment from Tritium Partners.
ToursByLocals said the company will use the money to expand and to build out its booking and payment technologies. The firm employs around 100 people.
This is the first time the company has received outside funding. Since it was launched 10 years ago by Paul Melhus, Dave Vincent and Luciano Bullorsky, the firm has built a base of 1.45 million customers and $45 million in revenues.
ToursByLocals’ valuation is not being disclosed, but many competitors in the space – including Airbnb, GetYourGuide from Berlin and Klook from Hong Kong – have reached unicorn status at more than $1 billion. However, others in the space, like Vayable, have shut down.
ToursByLocals said it has around 4,130 guides and 30,000 tours available for both solo travelers and those who want more of a group experience. The company added that it carefully curates its guides, with only one in 10 applicants being accepted. It focuses on “archaeologists, art historians, wildlife experts, photographers and foodies” – instead of simply choosing a local, the firm says that it selects people who have expertise in specific subjects.
“A private tour with a local guide is the best way to experience a destination. Since our founding, we’ve focused on creating truly memorable private tour experiences for travelers, while helping local tour guides offer customizable tours in over 1,000 destinations globally,” said Melhus, the CEO of ToursByLocals, in a statement.