The new fund will be part of the travel technology group’s TravelTech Lab subsidiary and invest in strategically relevant startups and funds.

TravelTech Lab winners

TravelTech Lab’s second innovation challenge winners. Image courtesy of HBX Group.

Spanish business-to-business travel agency HBX Group has formed a startup, scaleup and fund investment scheme focusing on the travel sector.

The €50m ($54m) fund will be part of TravelTech Lab, HBX Group’s corporate venture capital and startup accelerator unit formed in 2023. It will run for a decade and the amount it invests in startups will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

TravelTech Lab made its first investment of undisclosed size in B2B holiday package provider PerfectStay last week, after announcing a strategic partnership between HBX Group and the French startup to provide enhanced travel offerings.

In March 2024, TravelTech Lab held its second innovation challenge, in association with Spanish telecommunications firm Telefónica’s Wayra unit, targeting virtual reality, metaverse and AI technology developers in the travel industry. The winners were digital payment platform Didit (Gamium), VR tour provider Firtview, accommodation booking service Hotelverse and Unblock, which provides an app that helps tourists access city services.

TravelTech Lab has partnered with more than 300 startups based in countries such as Spain, France, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore and South Korea. The unit also collaborated with New York University’s School of Professional Studies Jonathan M Tisch Center of Hospitality and the Mastercard Tourism Innovation Hub.

“Our investment fund will not only facilitate our access to future technologies but also promote the development of a global ecosystem of startups and scaleups in the travel sector,” said Nicolas Huss, chief executive of HBX Group.

“We believe that by supporting these innovative companies, we can drive the next wave of transformation in the travel industry.”

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.