CultureTrip Sold To CEO and Is Now Trying To Sell Itself After Failing At Everything Else

The story of Culture Trip is sordid, and in the scheme of things, an inconsequential blip on the face of heavily funded travel startups.

What was at some point was an SEO-fueled destination content factory that had raised a lot of money and failed to create enough revenues, it tried to pivot into being an online travel agency and failed at that, the company somehow pivoted into being a small-group tour company — a reseller of tours from the likes of Intrepid Travel and others — in the last year and no one noticed.


Now, after raising as much as $175 million in equity and debt (see the details from its UK Companies House filing, the screenshot posted above) over the 12 years of its existence, it announced Tuesday that the company did a management buyout led by CEO Ana Jakimovska recently and has also put up the company for sale, or investment. Clearly the majority investor PPF Group lost its shirt in this deal, that’s for sure.

“At the beginning of 2022, Culture Trip launched an exciting new strategy, selling unique curated trips to digital savvy millennials using their digital content to acquire customers. The business has undergone rapid growth since this pivot, achieving an impressive 30% quarter-on-quarter growth and 78% year-on-year growth,” the company touted in the release Tuesday.

OK, lets unpack that: According to the financial filings, it made a whopping $1.9 million in revenues in 2021 with losses of $23.5 million for the year. And if we take the company figures at face value, that its revenues increased by 78 percent in the last year, even being generous its revenues for 2022 were around $3 million (see screenshot below), even if, as the company claimed, its losses have narrowed.

The company, which according to our estimates has gotten rid of most of its employees during 2022 (it had about 130 or so in 2021), is now trying to sell itself. It also announced Tuesday that it has hired advisory firm Lazarus Consulting to start a sale process or get an investment.

With little to no brand value, any residual SEO value quickly deteriorating and little revenues to boast of, and likely being unprofitable as a business, it is hard to see any good outcomes from here.