Byway Harnesses AI to Redefine Slow Travel with £5.04 Million Series A Funding

  • Byway, founded by Cat Jones in 2020, focuses on flight-free, overland package tours emphasizing slow, sustainable travel.
  • Series A funding of £5.04 million led by Heartcore Capital with Eka Ventures and angels supports expansion.
  • Growth metrics include a 3x increase year-on-year and over 4,200 trips sold to date.
  • AI-driven trip planner, JourneyAI, powers 60% of online bookings, optimizing itineraries based on customer preferences and environmental impact.
  • Hybrid model integrates AI tools with human concierge service for personalized travel planning and disruption management.
  • Future plans include automation of disruption handling, enhancing local nuance in trip recommendations, and navigating post-Brexit regulatory challenges.

Main AI News:

Byway, a pioneering travel startup founded by Cat Jones amidst the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, has secured a significant £5.04 million Series A funding round to expand its footprint in the travel industry. The company’s unique proposition focuses on curated, flight-free package tours that emphasize slow, sustainable travel experiences via overland routes including trains, buses, and ferries.

Since its inception, Byway has experienced exponential growth, boasting a three-fold increase in business year-on-year and selling over 4,200 trips to date. This growth underscores a rising consumer preference for eco-friendly travel options amid growing environmental concerns and challenges posed by over-tourism in popular destinations across Europe.

The Series A funding, led by Heartcore Capital with contributions from Eka Ventures and angel investors, will support Byway’s expansion into new regions and enhance its proprietary artificial intelligence-based trip planner technology, JourneyAI. Currently, 60% of Byway’s bookings are conducted online, leveraging JourneyAI to design personalized travel itineraries based on customer preferences and environmental considerations.

Jones, drawing from her experience at London-based startup accelerator Founders Factory and digital adtech firm Unruly, has positioned Byway at the forefront of the slow travel movement. Her vision emphasizes not only scenic travel experiences but also resilience in trip planning through JourneyAI. This AI tool integrates diverse data sources, including transport schedules, customer inputs, and past trip feedback, to tailor journeys that cater to individual preferences and adapt to disruptions seamlessly.

Byway’s commitment to combining AI-driven efficiency with personalized service is evident in its hybrid approach, offering both automated trip planning tools and a human-powered concierge service for bespoke travel needs. This strategy ensures flexibility and reliability, crucial for managing multi-leg journeys and mitigating travel disruptions effectively.

Looking ahead, Byway plans to leverage its recent funding to automate disruption management further, enhance local nuance in trip recommendations, and streamline regulatory compliance post-Brexit with its new base in the Netherlands. As it expands its market reach, Byway remains dedicated to redefining travel paradigms with technology that not only inspires but also ensures sustainable and memorable travel experiences for its customers.


Byway’s successful Series A funding round and rapid growth underscore a significant shift towards sustainable, AI-enhanced travel experiences. The market’s response reflects increasing consumer demand for eco-friendly alternatives and personalized travel solutions. By leveraging AI to streamline trip planning and enhance customer satisfaction, Byway is well-positioned to lead in the emerging niche of slow, scenic travel.