We are excited to announce that Rome2rio has been acquired by Omio, the Berlin-based travel booking platform. Rome2rio will remain independent and based in Melbourne. The Rome2rio product, technology, brand and team will continue to operate as a separate entity and we remain focused on building the best product to get you from A to B.
This means we’ll be integrating Omio’s comprehensive booking platform, giving Rome2rio users more options to book their flights, trains, buses and ferries. Our team in Melbourne will continue to focus on improving the Rome2rio website and apps, while our global team of data experts will keep growing and refining our unique collection of transport data.
Rome2rio will continue to guide you as you plan your travels, discover new destinations and help you get wherever you need to go.
Connecting the world
Bernie Tschirren and I founded Rome2rio in 2010 with the vision of making travel planning easier. We were frustrated that travel websites focused only on flights, with very little information available to plan trips by train, bus, ferry and other fun and environmentally friendly modes of transport. Bernie envisioned a site that would help users discover how to reach destinations like Machu Picchu. I wanted to help travellers consider options for journeys like Budapest to Antewerp or help inform them that they’d be better off taking the train from Berlin to Gdansk rather than flying via Copenhagen.
Our idea was to create an experience where people could quickly discover all transportation options for anywhere to anywhere, all around the globe. We decided to move back from the US to Melbourne to build the business as we were passionate about creating a consumer technology business in Australia after having both worked at Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle for several years. The two of us started working on the idea from my parents’ living room, and Rome2rio was born.
After launching the first version of Rome2rio to the public in 2011, we worked hard to refine the website and underlying technology over the next 12 months. In 2012, we raised capital from Melbourne’s fledgling angel investment community and moved out of the proverbial garage.
That capital enabled us to hire some amazing people who helped us build out the business. In 2015, Rome2rio became profitable, and over the next four years we continued to scale and reinvest in growth. Today, our small but effective team of 40 employees is passionate about developing the best possible product experience for our users. Another 40 contractors around the globe are busy collecting and curating our unique data as well as providing quality customer service. Rome2rio reaches some 18 million users each month across various devices, and offers lightning-fast search of more than 5,000 transport operators across the globe.
Rome2rio both fulfilled our original vision and exceeded our wildest dreams.
Since Rome2rio was founded, the multi-modal travel sector has evolved and the online ticketing of rail, bus and ferry options has come a long way. It made sense for Rome2rio to start selling tickets for the transport options we display, and we started integrating a handful of operators including Trenitalia, Amtrak, National Rail and RENFE. These integrations meant we could start extending our focus from trip planning to full ticketing, starting with the most popular operators.
However, as we developed the ticketing integrations, we started to appreciate the scale of the task ahead of us. Developing a seamless on-site ticketing experience for hundreds of operators is a major undertaking. Since the team at Omio had already built a very successful business focused solely on selling train, bus, ferry and air tickets to users in Europe, it made sense to explore partnering with them.
Formerly known as GoEuro, Omio was founded in 2013 by Naren Shaam. Naren also developed a passion for multi-modal search while traveling through Europe, seeing the same clear need for a single product that offered ground transport options such as trains and buses alongside flights. However, Naren approached the problem differently, and with a much more ambitious goal: his focus was on complete ticketing coverage as well as search. Over the last six years Naren has raised almost US$300 million in funding and built a team of over 300 employees to realise that vision.
As soon as we started discussions with Naren and his team, we were impressed by the calibre of talent that he has attracted, and how carefully and thoughtfully they collaborated with us on plans for working together. While Rome2rio and Omio could be seen as competitors in the multi-modal space, we quickly realised our businesses are complementary. Rome2rio’s door-to-door search technology and global coverage fits well with the deep ticketing coverage, marketing expertise and commercial partnerships that Omio offers.
We are both trying to solve the same problem, but from completely different angles. Rome2rio is able to help the newly rebranded Omio fulfill its global ambitions. Omio is able to support Rome2rio’s growth by bringing its expertise in marketing, commercial and scaling an organisation. Omio can leverage Rome2rio’s routing technology to offer a more complete door-to-door experience. Rome2rio can leverage the Omio booking system to offer comprehensive ticketing to users.
We are looking forward to working with Omio to shape the future of multi-modal search and booking together.
For our users, we do not expect this acquisition to change the Rome2rio website or mobile apps, other than allowing us to further invest in making these products even better.
So many people and organisations have helped Rome2rio on our journey so far, and we’d like to say thank you.
First, a big thank you to our loyal user base, who continue to engage with our product and trust us to help them fulfil their travel dreams. Travel is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences in life, and it brings us great pleasure to know we are helping millions of travellers plan experiences of a lifetime.
Second, we are grateful for the government and community support we have received over the years. The Commercialisation Australia program provided $1.2 million in early funding that was critical to our growth, and InvestVic continue to support the growth of our Melbourne team. The R&D tax incentive program has helped fuel our growth. Organisations such as Melbourne Angels, Inspire9, University of Melbourne, and RMIT University have supported us along the way.
Thanks to everyone who is or has been part of the Rome2rio team for helping build an amazing experience for our users. It is a privilege to collaborate with such a passionate, creative and hard-working team of developers, designers, data scientists, data managers and operational managers, and we look forward to continuing our journey together. Our global content team work diligently to ensure we offer quality information to users, and our partners KHQ, Adventum Legal and Krigsman Partners continue to be critical to our success.
Finally, thank you to Omio for believing in our vision. We look forward to becoming part of the Omio team.