British travel technology company Duffel is now “out of stealth mode” following a new round of investment, according to co-founder and chief executive Steve Domin.

The company, which helps travel agencies connect directly to airlines’ reservation systems via an API, has raised US$30 million in a Series B round of funding, led by Index Ventures.

Index Ventures has also invested in technology companies including Dropbox and Slack, and was joined by existing investors Benchmark Capital and Blossom Capital, bringing Duffel’s total capital raised to US$56 million.

Duffel claims its platform allows travel agencies – including TMCs – to pull real-time flight offers, make bookings, access live seat availability and buy extra services. To date it connects to 18 carriers, including American Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa Group, Aegean Airlines, Vueling and Iberia.

Domin told BBT that transactions are already being made, and that Duffel is powering a well-known start-up TMC in the UK, as well as two new TMCs in France. It also has clients in the US, Canada, Germany and Spain. His goal, he added, was to facilitate the new wave of travel agencies that are looking to disrupt the market, but do not have the resources to build their own systems from scratch. Duffel does not plan to integrate with corporates directly. “Our goal isn’t to replace TMCs,” he added.

IATA support
Duffel is also working with IATA on NDC projects, and its platform allows TMCs to see live seat availability from airlines, as well as additional offers on in-flight meals or luggage allocations.

With some corporates concerned about the lack of “servicing” once an NDC booking had been made, Domin said he believed that “most airlines have caught up since last year” when implementing this. “It’s not always to the standard of GDSs, but they are moving pretty fast.”

Olivier Hours, head of industry distribution programmes adoption at IATA, said: “One of the objectives of the NDC standard is to foster innovation and competition in the distribution landscape. Duffel represents both, and we identified them as a key player in the marketplace as they can contribute to accelerate volume growth, in particular by connecting new types of sellers”.

Duffel will use the new cash injection to hire more engineers and increase its broader team, and focus on expanding in North America and Europe.

duffel.com

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