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Celebrate your wins: GetYourGuide raises $194M to help you make unforgettable memories

Celebrate your wins: GetYourGuide raises $194M to help you make unforgettable memories
The Ultimate Game of Thrones Walking Tour in Dubrovnik, Croatia

June 1 was my internal deadline to start blogging again and I had planned to write something sweeping and perhaps remarkable about our current moment in time and its opportunities for founders. Something pretentious like "Opportunity in the Polycrisis" or perhaps a statement of intent for this equally pretentiously titled blog, Epistulae Viae (a working title!).

Instead, as it tends to, life happens and GetYourGuide, my very first investment as a partner at our own firm Heartcore, decided to announce its latest fundraise today. Have you ever noticed how life eases you into what you're meant to be doing? I don't believe in coincidences any longer. And "eases you into" is a euphemism: sometimes it straight up trips you into what's needed.

Heartcore invested in GetYourGuide in 2013, which has allowed me to follow Johannes and Tao's journey for a full decade. I think it was around 2018/2019, in the context of the Softbank round, that Johannes called me a "true believer." I'm sure it was an off-hand comment, but it stuck with me that in an ideal world, this is what I'd like to be for all "my" founders and their companies.

True belief implies an unwavering faith in the truth and importance of their mission. It allows for hope in a successful outcome: for the founders and their company to grow into their full potential and for all shareholders, including employees, to reap the rewards of persistence and hard work. And it results in charity in the sense of caritas, so that as investors we can will the good of the founders and their company over our own.

In materialist, game-theoretic terms, "venture capital is a multi-stage reputational game." In my experience, this doesn't capture what is required to quell your own fear and greed in order to be a good partner to a founder.

As you can imagine, the last three years in the travel industry provided plenty of opportunity to lose faith and cede the emotional control required to shepherd this business and the tens of thousands of livelihoods it supports, both employees and suppliers, into a post-pandemic world. This round is a testament to the vision, persistence, and hard work of GetYourGuide's founders, management team, and all employees.

GetYourGuide's story is one driven by the beautiful mission of unlocking unforgettable memories around the world. Travel is not about how you get there, and not primarily about where you stay: no ones goes to Italy to fly Alitalia and stay at the Hilton. Instead it is about what you do when you get there: you go to turn on the lights in the Sistine Chapel. To see the Last Supper and the Duomo. To touch the dust of the martyrs in the sands of the Colosseum and follow their footsteps in the Catacombs. As we have maintained for more than a decade, this is what makes GetYourGuide a strategically pivotal player for the entire travel industry.

GetYourGuide has grown from the simple idea of replacing pamphlets at hotel reception with bookable in-destination tours & activities to its current offering of 75,000 activities from over 16,000 experience creators. Since launch, travelers from over 150 countries have booked more than 80 million tours, activities and attraction tickets through GetYourGuide. The current brand video captures the breadth and depth of this offering very well:

Financing rounds are never ends in themselves: they are resources for the journey of building a large company. Their announcement is simply a marker on that journey, but one that provides a space. The German word is innehalten; the prefix inne- meaning inward and halten meaning hold or pause. Or perhaps Zäsur, or caesura, the pause in the work.

Use this pause to celebrate your wins. Not just for yourself, but celebrate them for your partners, spouses, families, employees, and suppliers. Celebrate them because what you are doing is true, and good, and beautiful. Because it is worth doing and worth believing in.

Congratulations to the entire GetYourGuide team. We have loved you and supported you for a decade and Team Heartcore is excited about your next chapter.