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Travelata to shift marketing up a gear with $5 million funding boost

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Travelata, the online package tours startup has secured funding of US$5m from Poland-based equity firm MCI Management.

Russia-based Travelata, which originally launched in November 2011 initially concentrating on weekend tours, pivoted to packages just over a year ago.

The funding comes via Czech-based Invia, an online package holiday specialist for Eastern Europe, which is part of the MCI investment portfolio.

MCI was also an investor in Travelata in November as part of a $500,000 seed round which also included Altair.

Travelata co-founder and chief executive Alex Zaretsky explains that Invia is a partner company with the two sharing technology including a CRM system. He adds that providing the funding via Invia also provides MCI with more flexible exit options going forward.

Zaretsky adds that the money will go toward strengthening Travelata’s position as a ‘market leader in online sales of package tours.’

“It will be spent on scaling up marketing, increasing call-centre capacity and further website improvements. Travelata’s goal is to become ‘an Amazon of package tours’ for Russia.”

Zaretsky estimates the Russian package tours market to be worth at least $12bn with a growth rate of 8% per year.

Russia’s online travel market seems to experiencing mixed fortunes at the moment with accommodation specialists Oktogo and Ostrovok reaping large funding rounds while others run into challenges.

Since April the website of rival online packages startup Travelmenu has been down with a spokesperson for its investor Runa Capital saying the company’s technology was being sold to a ‘large tourism company’.

More recently, another startup Flatora shut up shop with its chief product officer Alexander Gorelik giving his views here.

Original author: Linda Fox
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