Sherpa Raises $8.5 Million to Make International Travel Easier

By Jemima McEvoy Monday, May 3, 2021

As fun as a vacation can be, the logistics and planning of a beach getaway often take away at least some of the fun. That’s the main focus of Sherpa, a Toronto-based travel tech company that wants to make international travel easier. Unlike others in the travel industry — which was heavily influenced by COVID-19 — this startup has actually found massive business opportunities to due to the pandemic. The latest catalyst is $8.5 million raised in a venture round closed this month, which will serve as a helpful boost as the company focuses on expansion.

Woman with luggage.

What Is Sherpa?

The travel tech startup was founded in 2015 by entrepreneurs Ivan Sharko and Max Tremaine. The founders hail from diverse business backgrounds, but both came together over the vision of providing every traveler with the information and documentation they need to move “confidently and securely” across borders. The company offers a wide variety of products to help with this mission, ranging from eVisas during booking to notifying travelers about new travel restrictions. The main focus of Sherpa is easing what is typically a tricky process to apply for international visas.

In the six short years since it was founded, the travel tech company has already made big strides toward easing international travel. The startup works with the world’s largest travel brands — including American Airlines, TripActions, and Icelandair — and has a presence in 50 countries.

Money and Investors

The travel tech startup has raised a total of $11 million since it was founded, according to investment tracking platform Crunchbase. The company raised $50,000 from a grant from Intelak Hub in February of last year. Soon after, the business pulled in its first big sum of $2.5 million in an October seed round involving Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm True Ventures.

This most recent round marks the most money the company has raised in a funding round to date. The $8.5 million venture round was led by Narrative Fund and True Ventures. Other investors that have invested in Sherpa include Relay Ventures, TSVC, Globalive Capital, N49P, Plug and Play Ventures, and Golden Ventures. Notably, the CEO of travel company Busbud LP Maurice and the founder of Stuart MacDonald have both invested in Sherpa.

The Future of the Company

With this new funding, the company plans to focus on expanding its business even further. Unlike other travel companies, Sherpa actually experienced significant business growth over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in new barriers to international travel.

“This is a problem that’s always been big for the travel industry but it’s never been bigger,” Tremaine said in a recent interview. As a result, the startup released new services and formed new partnerships with American Airlines, Expedia, TripActions, and Icelandair. The startup has grown from processing a few hundred thousand API requests a month to roughly a billion.

The company’s new focus will be to expand the relationships with the companies the travel tech business works with, add travel documents as an ancillary product, and international growth. The startup has begun to work more within Asia and the Middle East and plans to grow within those markets.

About the Author

Headshot of Jemima McEvoy

Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.

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