RealTime IT News

eDreams Are Made of This -- US $14 Million

[London, ENGLAND] European travel portal eDreams, the largest in Spain and Italy, announced Monday it has secured nearly US $14 million in second round financing.

The new investment comes from financiers led by 3i Group in the U.K., and consisting of Apax Partners, Atlas Venture, Doll Capital Management, Net Partners and Banco Santander Central Hispano (BSCH). It brings the total investment in eDreams by these companies to US $34 million.

As a result of the funding, Javier Perez-Tenessa, eDreams' co-founder and chief executive, has been speaking enthusiastically about his company's "aggressive expansion plans." Having already entered the U.K. it intends to expand into France in the coming months with the eventual aim of building a pan-European service.

Carlos Mallo, Director of 3i Europe's Barcelona office, referred to the "solid results" achieved by eDreams since its launch early last year. It had, he said, surpassed expectations in terms of both sales and users.

George Charters, director of Apax Partners, was confident that eDreams would emerge as a profitable winner in its market sector.

"eDreams is a strong proposition with a valuable, experienced management team in place to execute it to the full," added Gerard Montanus, senior principal, Atlas Venture.

So why are the fortunes of eDreams waxing while those of lastminute.com are so notably waning?

It is probably the growth of such operations as eDreams that is causing problems for the early dotcoms in the European travel sector. In its first year of trading, eDreams has grabbed sales of nearly US $10 million out of the sector -- and that's US $10 million less for the other players.

What is more: eDreams has established a solid foundation in Spain and Italy, and has drawn upon the expertise of established travel companies such as Amadeus and First Choice. Its community of 450 Dreamguides has been especially popular in offering users expert advice for their vacations around the world.

Now eDreams has half a million registered users and looks like it could, with time, become a strong contender for the much-desired top spot in European online travel operations.