Google Ventures Joins $60M Round for Members-only Travel Sie, Secret Escapes

Google Ventures the investment arm of the internet search giant, is one of a number of investors to have pumped $60m (£38.7m) into online holiday discount firm Secret Escapes.

The search giant’s venture capital unit expanded to Europe last year and has made four investments since, all of which have been in London companies a sign that the UK capital is one of the leading technology hubs in Europe.

Secret Escape, founded in 2010 and currently available in 13 countries, said it plans to use the money to make acquisitions and expand further into the US and Asia.

Alex Saint, chief executive of Secret Escapes, said: “The cash injection of $60m will enable Secret Escapes to continue making great strides to replicate the success of our UK business. We forecast to be a global multi-billion turnover business by the end of the decade.”

The firm, which already has a presence in much of mainland Europe, has also signalled its intention to acquire rivals with the proceeds. In 2014 it snapped up Warsaw-based Travellist.

Since launching Secret Escapes has sold 2m room a nights and grown its user base to over 19 million worldwide. The company’s turnover was £65 million in 2013, while year-on-year revenue growth is at 260 percent.

Google Ventures, which has $2bn in assets under management, has invested in a number of nascent tech firms, such as Uber.

Google Ventures partner Tom Hulme added: “Secret Escapes has brought deals to millions of customers seeking luxury travel accommodations and continues to expand its business into global markets. The company’s growing partnership base gives it a significant advantage to connect world class hotels with travellers.”

Existing investors Index Ventures and Atlas Venture also participated in the fundraising.

Google Ventures has over $1.5 billion under management and has backed companies like Uber and DocuSign in the US. The Google Ventures European team has $125 million at its disposal.

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