Travel Local secures investment from Active Partners and Gresham House

Global B2C online tailor-made holidays marketplace has attracted an unspecified cash injection.

The new investment has been made by Gresham House Ventures, which provides capital to high-growth entrepreneurial businesses.

TravelLocal claims to be disrupting one of the last segments of travel which remains offline by connecting consumers directly with handpicked experts based in their destination.

This bypasses the traditional UK-based middleman, for better expertise and value, but retains the security of Abta and Atol protection.

TravelLocal is building a global brand, having taken bookings from clients in 39 origin countries around the world and offering 53 destinations so far.

The investment is part of a growth capital funding round which also includes Active Partners.

TravelLocal was founded by Tom Stapleton, Huw Owen and Mark Hudson and launched its managed marketplace in 2016.

It predominantly operates within the long-haul, multi-destination holiday market, focusing on private itineraries for higher-end and mid-level clients.

This segment of the travel market is growing strongly, boosted by increasing appetite for authentic, experiential travel, particularly amongst the over 50s demographic.

The addressable UK market is expected to hit £3.9 billion this year, while the US market is over £6 billion.

The business has so far focused its marketing activities on UK-based customers.

It sees “significant scope” to increase its international presence with this additional funding.

Gresham House Ventures invests equity of up to £5 million in growth businesses, while providing transformational capital and expertise to accelerate business potential.

Active Partners, which leads the investor syndicate, has previously funded Soho House, cycling brand Rapha and Leon Restaurants.

Gresham House was especially attracted by TravelLocal’s exceptional client feedback – with a Net Promoter Score of more than 80 – and the global reach of the brand.

TravelLocal managing director Stapleton said: “We are in an exciting period of growth at TravelLocal and are thrilled to have secured this additional investment from Gresham House Ventures, alongside Active Partners.

“We’re proud of the global marketplace and brand we have created and are excited about utilising this funding to further accelerate our growth.”

Gresham House Ventures associate director Tom Makey, added: “TravelLocal is at a pivotal point in its growth journey as it looks to increase market share and expand internationally.

“The travel space, like many sectors, is experiencing significant change and this managed marketplace and platform demonstrates how technology is being used to facilitate a better and more intuitive experience for travellers.”


Gresham House Ventures invests in Rainbird Technologies

Gresham House Ventures announces an investment in Rainbird, an automation platform that scales, augments, and enhances best practice decision-making for businesses.

The Rainbird platform transforms organisational value and customer outcomes. Businesses can simply and cost-effectively replicate best practice decision-making and make it available at scale. Based on nuanced human reasoning, Rainbird handles complex decisions – unlike simplistic ‘if this then that’ decision trees. It makes accurate judgements, handles uncertainty, and provides an auditable rationale for every decision.

Rainbird leverages human expertise to go beyond standard Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA technologies automate tasks, but Rainbird automates decisions. The platform’s unique market position enables businesses in any sector to cost-effectively replicate complex decision-making and make it available at scale.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are essential in driving the Rainbird platform. SMEs model their business expertise in the Rainbird Editor, a user-friendly interface that allows users to draw out their logic in knowledge maps, either visually or using the platform’s in-line modelling language, RBLang. The Rainbird Runtime is the powerful goal-based inference engine that is responsible for all reasoning, basing its automated decision-making on the knowledge maps created in the Editor. It combines with real-time data sources to solve queries via web assistants, chatbots, apps or other worker applications. Decisions are entirely auditable via an in-built evidence tree – a crucial function for businesses striving for explainable, transparent and compliant automation solutions.

Rainbird has quickly and efficiently developed from a proof-of-concept to a sizeable business with enterprise contracts. It works closely with leading global organisations across finance, legal, professional services, insurance and healthcare sectors. For example, international law firm Taylor Wessing LLP uses Rainbird to automate regulatory advice, freeing up time for lawyers to focus on other opportunities.

Founded in 2013, Rainbird has locations across the UK in Norwich and London. The company is also expanding to the US and is in the process of building a global partner network. The Executive and Leadership Team includes: Executive Chairman, James Duez; Chief Executive Officer, Ben Taylor; Chief Operations Officer, James Loft; Head of Sales, Freddie Coventry; Head of Communications, Nisha Deo; Head of Implementation and Head of Platform Innovation, Michael Price.

The investment builds on the RPA credentials of the Gresham House Ventures team, having previously invested in RPA consultancy Symphony Ventures, which was sold to US-listed Sykes Enterprises, Inc. for £52m in November 2018. Gresham House’s investment will enable the continued commercialisation of the product, giving Rainbird a cash runway to secure substantial further anticipated revenues.

Gresham House Ventures invests equity of up to £5m in growth businesses, supporting founders with bold ambitions for the future, whilst providing transformational capital and expertise to accelerate business potential.

Commenting on the investment, James Duez at Rainbird said: “Rainbird is thrilled to introduce Gresham House to how our automation platform paves the way for any organisation to case-effectively synthesize best-practice decision-making and make it available at scale. We believe people are an organisation’s most valuable resource and businesses that combine human expertise with Rainbird will gain a definitive competitive advantage.”

Brendan Gulston, Investment Director at Gresham House, said: “The Rainbird team have done a fantastic job of building a game-changing business within the automation space. The quality of their clients and pedigree of the management team speak to the potential we see in this business to become a true disruptor, not just within the RPA space, but within all of the industries ripe for the efficiencies generated by intelligent automation.”

For further information, please contact:
Oliver Hughes, MHP Communications 020 3128 8622 /
Nisha Deo, Rainbird Communications 0795 177 6479 /

Gresham House Ventures and Gresham House
Gresham House Ventures, part of the Gresham House Strategic Equity division, seeks to support exciting UK businesses with bold ambitions for the future, by providing transformational growth capital and expertise to accelerate business potential.

For more information about the Gresham House Ventures team’s investment criteria, or if you think you know of a business looking for investment, please visit the website at or get in touch by email to

Gresham House plc is an AIM quoted specialist alternative asset manager providing funds, direct investments and tailored investment solutions, including co-investment across a range of highly differentiated alternative investment strategies. The Group’s expertise includes strategic public and private equity, forestry, renewable energy, housing and infrastructure.