The Luminaire secures $3.7m seed round to build luxury travel company of the future

The Luminaire, a new UK-based travel brand that creates enriching experiences in culture, art and nature, has announced its consumer launch in 2022. This news comes after seed investment, which secured $3.7million for the company’s launch. The company is backed by the founders of an innovative US-based investment group, who have a long track record as investors and operators.

The concept plays to the rise of a new archetype of traveller. This new generation of curious traveller spans all age groups, but wants to know more about the world and hear interesting stories about the places they travel to. They don’t want souvenirs or even Instagram memories – they want to learn new skills whilst they are there, and return home a richer, more aware person.

The Luminaire fields an international team of experts across a variety of subjects, from art to archaeology, or even astronomy. Together they curate deeply personalised experiences for guests, depending on their specific interests and passions.

Whilst preparing to launch, The Luminaire surveyed travellers across the world with an estimated combined net worth of $4.4bn, discovering some surprising insights indicating that global travel preferences have dramatically shifted in the last few years, accelerated by Covid. Respondents indicated that ‘enriching cultural experiences’ were their top reason for selecting a hotel, whilst room design, traditionally an important consideration, scored the lowest with almost no responses.

The founders’ vision is to disrupt an industry deeply in need of innovation by creating journeys that nurture personal growth, cultivate a more profound connection with the world and reimagine educational travel for a new generation. Their aim is to build the travel company of the future by adopting a digital-first approach, such as incorporating AI to understand and serve customer preferences more efficiently, a challenge their CEO, Adam Sebba terms “personalisation-at-scale”.

Prior to co-founding this new venture, Adam has worked over a 20-year career as a chief executive in luxury, travel and fashion. Counting five years on the screening committee of the Harvard Business Angels and being a Walpole Brands of Tomorrow Mentor for the innovative Suitcase magazine amongst his experience, Adam has previously worked in Diageo’s early-stage VC arm, Distil Ventures, investing in premium spirits, and ran the luxury fashion brand Antonio Berardi. He started his business career at the turnaround and strategy consulting firm AlixPartners.

Co-founder and CMO, Nicholas Priest, who has created the brand world, was Global Head of Marketing at AMAN Resorts for five years and also held senior leadership roles at three other of the world’s leading hotel and travel brands, Andre Balazs Properties, One&Only Resorts and NetJets Europe.

The third co-founder and COO, Ed Hicks, is a Harvard-schooled lawyer, a corporate adviser and investment strategist. With deep experience in advising companies navigating complex operational and legal issues at pivotal moments of change, he is also passionate about learning and education and previously founded a private tutoring business. Seeking to pursue a venture in education, Ed brought investors and the other founders together, helping broker the initial investment.

Adam Sebba, CEO of The Luminaire, said: “We are reinventing educational travel. There is no brand currently in existence that delivers truly substantive but accessible and stimulating travel experiences, which appeals across the generations. This is what The Luminaire stands for. The last two years have reminded us all that learning is priceless and knowledge is timeless. The trend I am seeing is a move beyond experiences, which are naturally ephemeral and transient, to a consumption of meaningful knowledge and learning.”