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Social networking app Travello raises AUD$5 million to build the world’s largest online community for travellers

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Ryan Hanly (right) and Mark Cantoni (left)

 Travello, a social networking app for travellers, recently announced it closed a AUD $5M capital raise from a consortium of private investors to support its global expansion. The new investment brings the total equity raised by the startup to AUD $6.4M.

Founded in 2015 by two footy mates from northern Queensland, Travello connects travellers from all corners of the globe, recommends experiences and allows users to browse and book more than 50,000 activities. The social networking app is currently used by more than 350,000 travellers in 180 countries. In July 2018 alone, Travello recorded 1.8M events on the Travello feed.

Co-founder Mark Cantoni grew up on a cattle property near the town of Malanda on the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland. He moved to Brisbane for uni and began working as a Surveyor – working in QLD and UK – all the while playing semi-professional Rugby League.

The other co-founder, Ryan Hanly grew up in the rural town of Mackay, North Queensland. He also moved to Brisbane for uni and became a PE teacher at Brisbane private boys school, and later in London. Ryan is now married with 4 children. The pair first bonded over a love of rugby league, and later over a passion for travel.

What does this capital raise mean for Travello?

Ryan said the investment comes at the ideal time to help grow the platform globally.

“In order for us to continue our rapid growth, we need a presence in our key markets, initially the UK and Europe. This investment will kick-start that process by allowing us to put resources on the ground across product, engineering, customer care and marketing,” he said.

Ryan Hanly

The team will also use the funds to further enhance the app’s features and its SaaS marketing platform, BlueTee. Comprised of a suite of technologies, BlueTee enables travel businesses to better connect with their customers pre, in-destination and post travel through location based geo-fences to pinpoint highly targeted push messages.

“The idea behind our biz-tech solution is to help travel businesses reach travellers in-destination through customer touch-points that were previously unattainable due to the nomadic nature of travellers and for these businesses to use Travello as a social extension for their brands,” explains Ryan, adding: “Unlike TripAdvisor, which started as a social platform but morphed into a marketplace, our community will always be at the heart of Travello.”

Why has Travello attracted this funding?

Travello’s success can be attributed in part to its ability to grow and sustain a connected tribe of passionate travellers which drives the core of its business. Research shows that travelers remain plugged into social media while on vacation. An estimated 72% of people post photos on social networks while traveling, and 70% of travelers update their social media status while vacationing.

“As Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur, it’s exciting to see local startups become global players. Brisbane is a growing hub for innovation, especially having recently developed ‘The Precinct’, and investments in homegrown startups like Travello are further proof that the city is an epicentre for innovation. It’s great to see Travello taking on the world from its office here in Fortitude Valley; it is well on its way to becoming the world’s largest online community for travelers,” said Shark Tank’s Steve Baxter.

“Travello is growing from strength to strength – taking on the world with their innovative travel app. The Palaszczuk Government will continue backing innovative Queensland startups, like Travello who received a $100,000 Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas grant to commercialise their product and scale up to new markets,” remarked Kate Jones, Queensland’s Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development.

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