Katanox Raises $5.7 Million and Appoints Former MD of Google Travel and Current Expedia Executive Rob Torres as Non-Executive Director
Katanox Scales Up to Enable Direct B2B Distribution of Travel Accommodations
Katanox, the travel accommodation distribution and fintech platform, has raised $ 5.7 million from a group of financial, hospitality, and tech entrepreneur family offices to overhaul and reconfigure B2B distribution in hospitality. The group of investors includes Rappi and Yuno co-founder Juan Pablo Ortega, co-founder of fintech Dimebox and current co-founder and CEO of Founda Jan Joost Kalff, and founder of hospitality tech iTesso Bas Blommaart.
In addition to its raise, Katanox brings industry veteran Rob Torres on as non-executive director. Rob brings over 20 years of experience and his vast travel industry network to the company. He will be working with the founding team to partner with global hotel brands.
"I am very excited to grow my relationship with the team and apply best practices from the programmatic advertising industry for B2B distribution in hospitality. The Katanox team is building an intriguing set of solutions to bring transparency that's needed for the open distribution era," said Rob Torres, non-executive director at Katanox.
The Katanox team combines innovative technology along with decades of expertise in payments, travel and programmatic media technology, to advance the future of B2B distribution in hospitality. Katanox addresses the $150 billion corporate travel market by streamlining and improving the distribution of travel accommodations, which has historically been controlled by Online Travel Agencies (OTA's), Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and bedbanks.
"Out of necessity, we've seen many advancements and improvements in the travel sector spurred on by technology and digitalization. However, when it comes to lodging, it's the safe middle men who are controlling the market and stifling growth," said Mendel Senf, co-founder of Katanox. "We're bringing much needed change to the market by putting power back in the hands of accommodation providers by empowering them to control their own destination via the Katanox platform."
This round unlocks international expansion and finances further development of the platform and integrations with Central Reservation Systems (CRS), Property Management Systems (PMS) and Payment Service Providers (PSP).
Global hotel chains are under severe pressure as a result of the slow Covid recovery of corporate travel, and are actively seeking to replace the expensive GDS and wholesalers because connectivity and contracting between them and the business travel agencies are too expensive.
Katanox brings together travel accommodations so travel sellers like Travel Management Companies (TMC) can assemble an end-to-end experience for their corporate clients. Giving them data streaming access and availability to directly search, book, pay and modify their booking at any time. On top of that, Katanox will introduce financial services like price freeze, travel now pay later, cancel/change fees as new revenue opportunities to both partners in the platform. Platformization is a proven model from fintech and other industries to radically cut costs and boost innovation through direct partnerships.
A transformative era for travel distribution
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade association for the world's airlines has created an industry standard, known as New Distribution Capability (NDC) and Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) which transforms the way airline products are retailed and paid for. Alternatively, the hotel and vacation rental industry lags behind in distribution and payment initiatives. The pandemic made it utterly clear that B2B distribution in hospitality is dictated by gatekeepers such as the GDS and OTA duopoly, held back by archaic software solutions and conditioned by monotonous pay-out providers like virtual credit cards.
The Katanox team, who has industry transforming experience in programmatic advertising and payments, sees parallels with advertising platforms who are connecting advertisers directly to publishers inventory or payment service providers which are connecting the fragmented world of payments and finance. Katanox is a global remote first company with a base in Amsterdam and has extensive hiring plans in engineering, business development and sales. Its team is spread over the globe from Amsterdam to London, Paris, Istanbul, Los Angeles and Mexico City.