Home Flight-free travel business Byway raises $6 million to improve AI usage and expand the technology

Flight-free travel business Byway raises $6 million to improve AI usage and expand the technology


  • Byway secured £5.04M ($6.45M) in Series A funding, led by Heartcore Capital, to expand its AI-based travel planner.
  • The AI tool, JourneyAI, designs trips using transport data and customer input, while 40% of services are human-assisted.
  • Funding aims to enhance AI disruption management and expand regional nuances in trip planning.

A travel business that deploys AI software to help people book package vacations is announcing the close of an oversubscribed £5.04 million (roughly $6.45M) Series A round.

Heartcore Capital has led the funding with participation from Eka Ventures and re-investing angels. The money raised by Byway will be used to expand into new regions, with the company saying they plan to add more hires too.

This will include engineers as they aim to dial up the proprietary AI-based software that acts as a travel planner.

At the moment, 60% of Byway’s company is based on AI as customers book trips online through the trip-designing software called JourneyAI. The remainder, at 40%, is a human-based concierge service where staff can talk to potential customers.

How does Byway’s travel AI tool work?

The Byway planner recommends certain trips to users and does so by drawing on information sources and contexts to build packages. This includes transport timetables and fare information, as well as the details inputted by the customer.

In a conversation with TechCrunch, the founder Cat Jones explains how the AI takes into account the information the company has on previous trips that were well received.

Unlike other travel tools, Byway focuses on flight-free travel. Jones explains how the funding will be used to perfect the AI when it comes to disruptions: “We are still manually sorting disruption at the moment. But actually that’s something that, very soon, especially with the funding – we will be able to automate the vast majority of our disruption detection and automation disruption replanning.

“So that we can alert people and say, ‘Look, your trip’s been disrupted here. Your train’s running a bit late, you’re going to miss the connection — here’s the reworked bit that we’ve done for you. And then, yeah, absolutely talk to us if you want to. But actually, if you’re just happy with that you can just accept it and off we go.”

The founder hopes the funding will help with further improving the AI’s responsiveness too, as she says the technology needs to become more detailed.

“You can get this general model where we have particular local nuances, but — increasingly — the more regions that we go into, the more local nuance the JourneyAI technology needs to have within it.

“But we are, kind of, in a place where we’re going, ‘Gosh, we understand it; we already know now that it needs this, and it needs this, and it needs this’. And actually our biggest problem is we don’t have very many developers… So we’ve got this back-end roadmap for JourneyAI but we haven’t got enough back-end tech people to run as quickly as we’d like at that roadmap, and then the same in the front end… Hence this fundraising.”

Featured Image: Photo by Josh Nezon on Unsplash

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Sophie Atkinson
Tech Journalist

Sophie Atkinson is a UK-based journalist and content writer, as well as a founder of a content agency which focuses on storytelling through social media marketing. She kicked off her career with a Print Futures Award which champions young talent working in print, paper and publishing. Heading straight into a regional newsroom, after graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism, Sophie started by working for Reach PLC. Now, with five years experience in journalism and many more in content marketing, Sophie works as a freelance writer and marketer. Her areas of specialty span a wide range, including technology, business,…

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