Irish travel-tech company Rove raises €450,000 in seed funding

Start-up looking to make inroads into adventure tourism sector

Rove founder and chief executive Brian Kearney: he expects a rebound in adventure tourism once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted around the world

Rove founder and chief executive Brian Kearney: he expects a rebound in adventure tourism once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted around the world

 

Rove, an Irish travel-tech start-up that is focused on the €150 billion adventure tourism sector, has raised €450,000 in seed funding from backers.

The company, which was founded late last year by Brian Kearney, a former head of digital at Fitbit, is seeking to make so-called active and experience-based travel more easily accessible.

The start-up has developed a cloud-based software platform that allows consumers to book adventure travel experiences and facilitates industry partners in growing ancillary revenues from tourism activities.

Mr Kearney said the investment would position Rove to take advantage of a projected rebound in adventure tourism once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted around the world.

“As people begin to travel again and seek safety amid social distancing, outdoor activities are set to continue to increase in popularity as travellers seek an escape from the congested city tourist traps,” he said.

“However, travel experiences are one of the least digitised segments of the travel industry with just 13 per cent of bookings happening online, in real-time. Bookings for activities largely happen in destination and in person, very close to the intended time of departure – this has been a major challenge for any company looking for a significant degree of scale in this market.”

Financing

The new investment is led by Zoosh Ventures and Enterprise Ireland, with Zoosh managing partner Bert Farrell to join Rove’s board as part of the financing.

Zoosh, which is chaired by former Ballymore Properties chief executive David Brophy, established a €2 million seed fund for Irish Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) start-ups two years.

“The market potential for Rove is enormous. The global market for travel activities is growing faster than any other segment of the travel industry. As we start to see this market shifting towards online and mobile bookings it becomes an exciting opportunity,” said Mr Farrell.