Google Ventures gives £39m backing to London's Secret Escapes

The travel deals site plans to use the cash to further expand into the US and Asia

Clare Hutchison
Monday 27 July 2015 15:39 BST

Secret Escapes, the London-based travel website, has won backing from Google's venture capital arm, which has jointly led a £38.7 million fundraising for the flash sales site.

Secret Escapes offers deals on luxury hotels and holidays at up to 70% off. It plans to use the cash to further expand into the US and Asia.

The company, founded in 2011, already operates in thirteen countries and has more than 19 million members, 14 million of which are from the UK.

Its international expansion has helped revenue grow 260% year-on-year, it said in a statement.

Chief executive Alex Saint said the company's ultimate aim is to become the number one destination for consumers looking to book their holidays.

"We forecast to be a global multi-billion turnover business by the end of the decade," he said.

Google Ventures, which has invested in over 250 businesses since its inception in 2009, established a European team last year.

The Europe unit made its first foray into investment with Kobalt Music - the UK company that distributes music for the likes of Prince, Paul McCartney and Pitbull - participating in a £38.9 million fundraising along with Dell founder Michael Dell’s investment vehicle and two other backers.

General partner for Europe Tom Hulme said of the Secret Escapes deal: "The company’s growing partnership base gives it a significant advantage to connect world class hotels with travellers."

Octopus Investors was its co-lead on the fundraising round, which also involved existing investors Index Ventures and Atlas Venture.

Alliott Cole, of Octopus Investments said its investment was prompted by Secret Escapes' "strong commercial opportunity, the size of the potential global market and the strengths of the founding team".

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