Katanox raises £4.5 million and appoints Rob Torres as Non-Executive Director

Katanox, the travel accommodation distribution and fintech platform, has raised $5.7 million (£4.5 million) 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 and CEO of Founda Jan Joost Kalff, and Founder of iTesso Bas Blommaart.

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.

Torres comments: “I am very excited to grow my relationship with the team and apply best practices from the programmatic advertising industry for B2B distribution in hospitality. The Katanox team is building an intriguing set of solutions to bring transparency that’s needed for the open distribution era.”

“Out of necessity, we’ve seen many advancements and improvements in the travel sector spurred on by technology and digitalisation. However, when it comes to lodging, it’s the safe middlemen who are controlling the market and stifling growth,” said Mendel Senf, Co-founder of Katanox.

“We’re bringing much-needed 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.”

Removing barriers

This round unlocks international expansion and 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 severe pressure as a result of the slow Covid recovery of corporate travel and are actively seeking to replace the expensive GDS and wholesalers because connectivity and contracting between them and the business travel agencies are too expensive.

A transformative era for travel distribution

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)m which transforms the way airline products are retailed and paid for.

Alternatively, the hotel and vacation rental industry lags behind in distribution and payment initiatives. The pandemic made it utterly clear that 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.

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