Aug 20, 2020

Travel app Omio gets $100mn in sign of COVID-19 recovery

travel
Omio
App
covid-19
William Smith
2 min
Omio is a Berlin, Germany-based company operating a cloud travel platform which aggregates travel method searching in one place
Omio is a Berlin, Germany-based company operating a cloud travel platform which aggregates travel method searching in one place...

Omio is a Berlin, Germany-based company operating a cloud travel platform which aggregates travel method searching in one place.

Transport options range from rail to bus, flights, ferries, rental cars and car sharing, with the company partnering with providers in 37 countries. Omio says its acquisition of Rome2Rio in 2019 allows it to plan routes to 10 million locations across the world.

Omio has achieved significant growth in its European base, leading it to launch in the US and Canada at the beginning of the year.

While the travel industry has been one of the worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Omio said it had witnessed signs of a market recovery as the booking of summer holidays and local travel became a possibility with easing lockdowns.

Since its 2012 foundation, the company has raised almost $400mn across 9 funding rounds. In a further sign of confidence in its post-COVID-19 health, Its latest round, announced yesterday, saw the company raise $100mn from Temasek Holdings, New Enterprise Associates, Kleiner Perkins, Kinnevik AB and Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

In a press release, Naren Shaam, Founder and CEO of Omio, said: “Travel is an eternal need, and I have no doubt in the comeback of the industry. We have seen a very promising recovery of our business over the past weeks, based on the unique strength of our product which includes all modes of transport across multiple markets. Especially in Germany and France, we are already above 50 percent of our pre-COVID-19 bookings despite marginal marketing spend. 

“However, consumer expectations are changing, and the industry will need to evolve to new standards and provide new products with a strong focus on sustainability. We will use the fresh capital to drive this change.”

The company said it would use the funds in part to fuel continued growth and potential acquisitions.

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Jun 18, 2021

Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR

Microsoft
NASCAR
3 min
Racing fans can expect the ultimate virtual experience as a result of the partnership with Microsoft and NASCAR

Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).

These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack. 

“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”

“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”

“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR

  • Empower employees productivity and collaboration
  • Improve fan engagement and experience
  • Improve environment security and IT productivity
  • Improve racing operations

 

Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.

“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”

“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives. 

“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.

Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”

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