SoftBank-Backed GetYourGuide Sells $134 Million Convertible Loan

SoftBank-Backed Startup GetYourGuide Takes $134 Million Loan

GetYourGuide Deutschland GmbH, a booking startup backed by SoftBank Group Corp., has raised 114 million euros ($134 million) via a convertible loan, after the pandemic continues to disrupt the travel industry.

The investment was lead by private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners, and existing investors including SoftBank’s Vision Fund, KKR & Co. and Temasek Holdings Pte also participated in the round, which will see the note converted to equity during the company’s next fund-raising event, Chief Executive Officer Johannes Reck said in an interview.

GetYourGuide raised $484 million last year in an investment led by the Vision Fund. Reck said the new funds would help the company “make sure it came through the crisis not just with its cash savings but with fresh investment.” The CEO said the new investment does not change the company’s valuation, but last year’s funding pegged GetYourGuide’s worth at “well over” 1 billion euros.

The Berlin-based company has been hit hard by the restrictions placed on leisure travel, which all but came to a halt as a result of the spread of Covid-19.

Reck said he believes the company’s value proposition has become bigger, not smaller and the company will continue to build on its platform for when leisure travel returns. “We were under the impression the pandemic would last just a month or two,” Reck said. “No one had the faintest idea about the impact on the travel industry”.

Reck said he expects intercontinental travel to remain modest, contributing just 9% of overall business next summer. But he also expects demand for domestic and regional travel to increase, and is planning to bring all its staff back to work by January.

GetYourGuide has taken advantage of state aid and sent the bulk of its staff into so-called Kurzarbeit, a German program that involves the government partially offsetting wages lost when companies are forced to temporarily halt or reduce activities.

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