Polarsteps hits 1 million users and raises €3 million in funding
Amsterdam-based travel startup Polarsteps today announced that it has broken through the 1 million user mark and raised €3 million (USD $3.5 million) in funding. The Series A round, which was led by INKEF Capital, brings Polarsteps’ total funding to date to €4.6 million (USD 5.25 million). The new funds will be mainly invested in product development and expanding the team.
Founded in 2015, Polarsteps is used by travelers in over 180 countries to track their trips and share them in real time with their closest friends and family. Travelers also use the platform to explore inspiring trips of others, which include endeavors such as "Around the world in an ambulance", "Nepal on a Royal Enfield", and "Exploring Iceland by bicycle". Polarsteps makes money by letting users buy Travel Books: instant photo albums of trips that can be ordered at the push of a button.
Polarsteps’ one million registered users have collectively traveled over 52 million days on the app, which is shown on a heat map that the company published today. The map exposes the most popular travel routes across the globe.
According to Polarsteps co-founder and CEO Koen Droste, the future of the platform will be about much more than just tracking and remembering trips: "Being avid travelers ourselves, we founded Polarsteps because we want to inspire and connect people through travel. We believe that the best way to do that is by creating a place where the entire travel experience is combined within one platform. From the very first inspiration on where to go, to remembering your trip years after it has ended. That’s why we’ve been working behind the scenes on our next big challenge: to re-invent the way in which travelers plan their trips. In the coming year we will roll out a whole new way for travelers to plan their next journey. Polarsteps will become the place to go to for planning, tracking and remembering all your trips."
Kyang Yung, Investment Director at INKEF, commented: “The two things that stood out to us about Polarsteps were the virality of the product and a company business model that is global from the get-go. The growth they have been able to achieve with basically zero paid marketing is remarkable, to say the least. We were equally impressed with the team’s overall vision, and their laser-focus on building a product that consumers love. The Polarsteps team has the potential to create something truly disruptive in the travel space, and we’re excited to join them on their journey.”
The Amsterdam-based company currently has 10 employees and plans to rapidly expand its team.
Video: Polarsteps welcomes 1.000.000th user
Heatmap: most popular travel routes around the world
For high-resolution photos and app imagery, please see our Media Kit.
INKEF Capital is an Amsterdam-based venture capital firm that focuses on long-term collaboration and active support of innovative healthcare and technology companies. INKEF Capital was founded in 2010 by Dutch pension fund ABP and with €500 million under management it is one of the largest venture capital funds in the Netherlands. INKEF focuses on investment opportunities in Healthcare, Technology, IT/New Media & FinTech. For more information: www.INKEF.com
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About the company
Polarsteps is created by a bunch of enthusiastic adventurers with a passion for travel, design and coding. The Amsterdam-based startup aims to built the place to go to for travelers that want to plan, track and remember their trips.
The first prototype of Polarsteps was invented when co-founder Niek Bokkers wrote a small app on a Transatlantic sailing trip that shared trip updates with his family via a satellite phone. His trip went viral among fellow travelers, who loved the concept of an automatic travel tracker. A next prototype for the app was tested on an epic motorcycle road trip from Amsterdam to Cape Town.
Based on those experiences, the first public beta of Polarsteps was launched in 2015. Following rapid traction amongst travellers, in the company raised multiple rounds of investment which were used to further develop Polarsteps into a cross-platform experience. Polarsteps is now available on iPhone, Android and through the website at www.polarsteps.com.
About the app
Polarsteps automatically tracks your route and places you've visited while you are travelling. Just carry your phone in your pocket or bag. Once connected to the internet, the app seamlessly transfers travel routes, key locations and photos to your personal Polarsteps page, where your route is plotted on a colorful world map that can be shared realtime with friends and family. When your trip is finished, a beautiful instant photo album can be generated with the push of a button.
Travelers can use Polarsteps on iPhone, Android and through the website at www.polarsteps.com.