Tuesday, November 1, 2005
San Francisco, CA, November 1, 2005 ? Viator Inc., a provider of destination travel products, has announced the completion of a $6 million Series B financing. The investment was led by Carlyle Venture Partners, the US venture and growth capital arm of Washington, DC-based Carlyle Group. Existing investor Technology Venture Partners also participated.
Over the last five years, Viator has built extensive supplier and distribution relationships as well as an advanced technology platform. The company now plans to add a wide range of new suppliers and destinations to their current offering of 4,000 tours and attractions, in over 400 destinations located in 46 countries worldwide.
Viator also announced that Barrie Seidenberg, former CMO of Preview Travel, has joined Viator as President. She will head a Marketing and Business Development team and join CEO Rod Cuthbert in the company's new San Francisco headquarters. Seidenberg was a key member of the team that took Preview Travel to a market-leading position prior to its acquisition by Travelocity.
"Barrie's experience at Preview Travel will be of enormous value to us. Combined with Carlyle's investment, we have an opportunity to build on that experience and our early category leadership to create a business which can become both the leading distributor and the leading online retailer in this market sector," said Viator CEO Rod Cuthbert.
"This is a multi-billion dollar market that's clearly under-served. Consumers already book their flights, hotels and cars online, and destination activities are the logical next step. We plan to satisfy that demand directly through our own site, but also as the best partner for hotel, airline and retail sites that want to offer activities to their own customers," said Seidenberg.
Viator will expand its partnership program, which features industry leaders Priceline, Hotwire, British Airways, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Qantas, and others. "BA Holidays have been active in the destination activities market for 20-odd years so it's a space we know well. Our partnership with Viator dates back to 2001; since then we've watched as they have created all the elements of an online market for destination activities. We think they are well positioned to take a leadership role in that market," said Claire Bentley, Managing Director of British Airways Holidays.
The Viator investment is Carlyle's third in the online travel sector, following online retailer C-Trip (NASDAQ: CTRP) and business travel specialist Egencia, which was acquired by IAC/InterActiveCorp in 2004.
"Viator already has a market leading selection of suppliers and affiliates, and attracts a global base of consumers, with over 30% of its bookings from consumers outside the U.S. We aim to build on that global capability through the establishment of a significant US sales and marketing presence as well as continued investment in building the premier destination on the web for consumers looking to plan their vacation activities" said Carlyle Managing Director Allan Thygesen, who has joined the company's board of directors.
Viator, founded in 1995, is a leading provider of destination travel products online, offering a range of products including sightseeing tours, theater tickets, soft adventure trips, attraction passes and airport transfers ? "the things you do when you get there." Viator sells its products directly to consumers at www.viator.com as well as through distribution relationships with over 500 online travel agencies, hotel and airline companies, city-specific sites and more.
About The Carlyle Group
The Carlyle Group is a global private equity firm with more than $30.9 billion under management. With 32 funds across four investment disciplines (buyouts, venture capital, real estate and leveraged finance), Carlyle has more than 600 employees in 24 offices in 14 countries in North America, Europe and Asia. Carlyle's conservative investment philosophy and disciplined investment process has generated extraordinary returns for its investors. Since its founding in 1987, the firm has invested $14.3 billion in 414 transactions. Visit www.carlyle.com for additional information.
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