Headout raises $12M, plans to hire 150+ people as domestic travel rebounds

The travel industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and startup Headout was no exception. A marketplace that let tourists make same-day bookings for tours, events and activities, the app expanded around the world after launching in 2015. Then COVID-19 hit.

But business is growing again thanks to rebounds in domestic travel and Headout claims it has grown 800% since January 2021. The company announced today it has raised $12 million led by Glade Brook Capital, which has also invested in marketplaces like Airbnb, Meituan, Uber and Instacart. The round included participation from returning investors Version One Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, FJ Labs, 500 Startups, Haystack and Ludlow Ventures, and new investors Espresso Capital and Practical VC. 

Headout says it reached profitable EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) in July. The new funding will be used to expand into 300 cities, product development and its product, business, marketing and operations teams. Headout plans to hire more than 150 employees around the world and is also looking for opportunities to acqui-hire travel and entertainment startups. 

This represents a massive turnaround from the beginning of the pandemic. In an email, co-founder and chief executive officer Varun Khona told TechCrunch “the pandemic was devastating as you’d imagine. Our business went from doing $250M+ to negligible scale in a matter of weeks.” 

But as travel gradually resumes, Headout identified “two massive tailwinds.” (Read more...)