Much Better Adventures, a platform for booking active holidays with independent specialists, has raised £400,000 and launched an online marketplace for road cycling holidays. The investment has come from early-stage investor, Seedcamp, alongside travel operators and angel investors including Simon Lambert, formerly of Lastminute.com, Fred Ahlberg, formerly of eBay, Brett Akker, founder of Lovespace and Streetcar, and James Kent, formerly of Google.
The London’s Co-investment Fund, backed by the Mayor, also participated in the fund-raising.
Boris Johnson said: “London’s tech and science sector is flourishing and the city is a hotbed of talented and ambitious people buzzing with exciting ideas who are setting up new companies in their droves. I am delighted that the London Co-Investment Fund is helping companies like Much Better Adventures to make their ideas a reality and deliver jobs and growth for the capital.”
The company want to make it easier for the growing number of cyclists to book experiences like supported tours, sportives, special events and bike-friendly accommodation.
The company was founded by Alex Narracott, Sam Bruce and Guy Bowden. The business started out of a rented chalet in Morzine in the French Alps before returning to London to source financial backing, scale and build its now 12-person team.
Much Better Adventures began by offering link-ups with skier-run chalets in Europe, generating 50,000 overnight bookings.
Handpicked cycling holiday providers pay a commission on bookings. It’s free for customers.
Bruce said: “The cycling holidays market is a multi-billion pound space with over 25 million overnight trips taken each year in the EU alone, but much like the rest of the active holiday industry, it’s still incredibly fragmented and poorly served by existing online platforms."
He added: "We’ve spoken with a lot of cycling groups and found a clear demand for a service that makes it simpler to discover and book more unique cycling experiences abroad."
Carlos Espinal, a partner at Seedcamp, said: “Much Better Adventures is nicely poised to launch into a new market. There are some very positive trends in the active travel market which has seen a growth of over 65 per cent a year, with 78 per cent of travellers ‘wanting to try new experiences and activities’ and 86 per cent ‘wanting to book directly with locals’. We’re delighted to have invested in a team which is making it easier to do exactly that.”