Katanox, the travel accommodation distribution and fintech platform, has raised $ 5.7m from a group of financial, hospitality, and tech entrepreneur family offices to overhaul and reconfigure B2B distribution in hospitality. The group of investors includes Rappi and Yuno co-founder Juan Pablo Ortega, co-founder of fintech Dimebox and current co-founder and CEO of Founder Jan Joost Kalff, and founder of hospitality tech iTesso Bas Blommaart.
What is Rob’s role at Katanox?
In addition to its raise, Katanox brings industry veteran Rob Torres on as non-executive director. Rob brings over 20 years of experience and his vast travel industry network to the company. He will be working with the founding team to partner with global hotel brands.
“I am very excited to grow my relationship with the team and apply best practices from the programmatic advertising industry for business-to-business distribution in hospitality. The Katanox team is building an intriguing set of solutions to bring transparency that’s needed for the open distribution era”, said Rob Torres, non-executive director at Katanox
The Katanox team combines innovative tech along with decades of expertise in payments, travel and programmatic media technology, to advance the future of B2B distribution in hospitality. Katanox addresses the $150 billion corporate travel market by streamlining and improving the distribution of travel accommodations, which has historically been controlled by Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s), Global Distribution Systems (GDS) and bedbanks.
How is Katanox disrupting the industry?
“We’ve seen many advancements and improvements in the travel sector spurred on by technology and digitalization. However, when it comes to lodging, it’s the safe middle men who are controlling the market and stifling growth,” said Mendel Senf, co-founder of Katanox.
“We’re bringing change to the market by putting power back in the hands of accommodation providers by empowering them to control their own destination via the Katanox platform.”
This round finances further development of the platform and integrations with Central Reservation Systems (CRS), Property Management Systems (PMS) and Payment Service Providers (PSP). Global hotel chains are under pressure due to slow Covid recovery of corporate travel, and are seeking to replace the expensive GDS and wholesalers because connectivity and contracting between them and the travel agencies are too expensive.
Katanox brings together travel accommodations so travel sellers like Travel Management Companies (TMC) can assemble an end-to-end experience for their corporate clients.
How do clients stand to gain from Katanox’s advance?
Giving them data streaming access and availability to search, book, pay and modify their booking. Katanox will also introduce financial services like price freeze, travel now pay later, change fees as new revenue opportunities to both partners. Platformization is a proven model from fintech and other industries to boost innovation through direct partnerships.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade association for the world’s airlines has created an industry standard, known as New Distribution Capability (NDC) and Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) which transforms the way airline products are retailed.
Alternatively, the hotel and vacation rental industry lags behind in distribution and payment initiatives. The pandemic made it utterly clear that business-to-business (B2B) distribution in hospitality is dictated by gatekeepers such as the GDS and OTA duopoly, held back by archaic software solutions and conditioned by monotonous pay-out providers like virtual credit cards.
The Katanox team, who has industry transforming expertise in programmatic advertising and payments, sees parallels with advertising platforms connecting advertisers to publishers inventory which are connecting the fragmented world of payments and finance.
Katanox is a global remote first company with a base in Amsterdam and has extensive hiring plans in engineering, business development and sales. Its team is spread over the globe from Amsterdam to London, Paris, Istanbul, Los Angeles and Mexico City.