Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE) has agreed to acquire SilverRail Technologies, the provider of a global booking platform for passenger rail services founded in 2009 by Aaron Gowell and Will Phillipson. SilverRail has since expanded beyond London to Sweden, Australia and the US. In 2014, it raised $40 million at a valuation of $186 million in a Series C led by Mithril Capital Management, with support from existing investors Canaan Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures and Brook Venture Partners.
Expedia and SilverRail have been partners since late 2015, when SilverRail jumped on board to power Expedia’s budding rail business. That same year, Expedia acquired HomeAway, which led to the integration of around 1 million rental listings worldwide into its platform. Now, Expedia is looking to solidify its rail booking options with SilverRail, which has already made train travel easier for customers in regions of Asia and Europe, where that mode of transportation comprises a larger market share than in North America, where air and auto options are more commonplace.
When Expedia came onto the travel scene in 1996, customers still called travel agents to book trips. Today, the company owns many of the rivals that emerged over the past two decades, including Orbitz, Travelocity and Trivago, the last of which it ushered onto the public markets in December. The SilverRail acquisition adds an industry disrupter to Expedia's suite of travel companies and strengthens the travel booking platform's recent efforts to stay ahead of rivals looking to disrupt the former disrupter.