Travel ancillaries online retailer Trusted Travel is looking for £900,000 investment from experienced travel executives to drive growth and international expansion.
Peter Brooks, chief executive of the firm that was founded 17 months ago with just £1,500 in the bank, launched the funding bid last week.
He said: “We want to go way beyond being a UK travel company and become the global travel ancillaries provider.”
Trusted Travel has grown quickly since launch expanding from airport car parking to lounges, airport hotels and car hire.
It now has 70,000 customers, turns over £3.5 million and claims gross profits of £390,000 and net profit of £75,000.
Brooks said he had considered raising the investment through crowd funding but he wanted to bring in the experience of between one and five seasoned travel industry investors.
He added it was too early to look for venture capitalist funding and so decided to appeal to the travel business community for investment in exchange for equity in the business.
“What we are hoping to find is perhaps someone who has been a C-level travel person for a number of years so they can also invest their expertise,” Brooks said.
Brooks launched Trusted Travel as a three-way joint venture with the Ian Potts, chief technology officer, and John Carroll, chief commercial officer. The trio all work for digital agency Barsbank.
He said the firm’s ethos, indicated by its name, is to help travellers have a better experience in a sector that is often associated with disreputable operators.
“We are trying to put out a message of helping people to travel. The biggest satisfaction I have had is not the profit in the first year, but that we have helped 70,000 people have a better holiday.
“People do not see ancillaries as a leisure thing to enjoy, they see them as a necessity, almost as a headache, which I do not think they should.
“People work hard and put an awful lot of time focussing on their two week holiday only for it to be ruined because some clown parks their car in a field.
“We take very seriously the experience the customer has. A lot of companies talk about the consumer experience, but we really mean it.
“Something that upsets me is that you see companies like OTAs acting as agent for the car parking firm or the hotel. I see it as the other way round; we are the agent for the customer.
“If something goes wrong our stance should not be to protect that £50 that’s gone to the car parking firm it’s to look after the customer.”
Of the £900,000 Trusted Travel hopes to raise around a third will be spent on staff recruitment and salaries.
The investment will also be used to bring on more overseas suppliers and to complete development and launch of a mobile app.
Brooks said he has already had plenty of interest since launching the bid for funding just over a week ago.