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Flight-free travel pioneer Byway raises £5M to make journey-based travel mainstream

Byway, the travel tech startup and B Corporation championing flight-free travel, has raised £5 million in an oversubscribed Series A funding round.

The round was led by Heartcore Capital, with participation from Eka Ventures and re-investing Byway angels. The funds will be used to accelerate the development of Byway’s unique journey-planning technology, JourneyAI, and to fuel its expansion into new regions.

As the demand for sustainable travel continues to grow—with 76% of travellers wanting to travel more sustainably and 47% planning to fly less—Byway is at the forefront of making flight-free holidays mainstream. Since its launch in March 2020, Byway has grown three times year-on-year. With an average carbon saving of 718kg per trip, Byway’s customers have saved 3,045 tonnes of carbon compared to flying, equivalent to planting 18,270 trees. An impressive 95% of Byway customers have rated the service 5 out of 5 stars.

Byway’s innovative JourneyAI technology is 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 just a means to an end.

The recent funding round was led by Heartcore Capital, known for investing in tech companies that bring happiness and enchantment to the world, including GetYourGuide, Travelperk, and Fora. Eka Ventures, focusing on sustainable consumption, also participated, along with re-investing Byway angels, including the HERmesa angel syndicate, impact investor Julia Davies, and Susan Hooper, former SAGA CEO.

With the new investment, Byway plans to expand its team, launch in new markets, and further develop its flight-free travel technology. Over the coming months, Byway will be hiring for roles in tech, product, finance, business development, and customer support. Job announcements will be available on their website and LinkedIn page.

Cat Jones, CEO and Founder of Byway, expressed her excitement: “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.”

Max Niederhofer, General Partner of Heartcore Capital, 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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