Flight-free firm Byway attracts £5m in funding

Flight-free online travel firm Byway has raised £5 million in an oversubscribed Series A funding round. 

The funds will be used by the B Corp to accelerate the development of its journey-planning technology, JourneyAI, expand staffing and fuel expansion into new regions.

Byway claims to have grown three times year-on-year since its launch in March 2020 as demand for sustainable travel continues to grow.

JourneyAI technology is held up as the world’s first 100% flight-free holiday planner. 

It integrates transport and accommodation data with expert place- and journey-based content into a smart dynamic packaging engine that designs multi-stop, personalised trips away from tourist hotspots. 

JourneyAI “optimises trips for enjoyment rather than speed, enriching holiday experiences for travellers and making the journey part of the trip instead of a means to an end,” according to the company.

Byway plans to add roles in tech, product, finance, business development and customer support.

The funding round was led by Heartcore Capital, which invests in tech companies and has led investments in GetYourGuide, Travelperk and Fora. 

Eka Ventures, which focuses on sustainable consumption, also participated, along with re-investing Byway angels, including the HERmesa angel syndicate, impact investor, Julia Davies, and former Saga Travel chief executive Susan Hooper.

Byway founder and chief executive Cat Jones (pictured) said: “It was a delight to experience such overwhelming interest from investors enthusiastic about the future of flight-free travel when raising our Series A. 

“I’m thrilled that in Heartcore and Eka we’ve found partners who believe in the joy of journey-based holidays and the potential of JourneyAI to change travel for the better.”

Heartcore Capital general partner Max Niederhofer added: “Heartcore has been investing in world-class founders building the future of travel for over a decade. 

“We felt called to support Byway’s mission to make tourism both more fulfilling and sustainable, and believe that its technology will become a key pillar for the next generation of online travel. 

“We are thrilled to be supporting another world-class European team in travel and particularly love Byway’s collaborative, supportive, and holistic mission-driven culture.”

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