Moringa Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: MACAU), a SPAC headed by Ilan Levin, is acquiring travel-tech company Holisto Ltd. at a valuation of $405 million. In addition, a non-affiliated investor has agreed to buy a $30 million senior secured convertible note from Holisto.
Holisto has developed AI-base technology to help people find the cheapest and most suitable hotel bookings. The product was launched in the second quarter of 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and according to the company it has been well received.
Moringa was floated on Nasdaq in February 2021, at the peak of SPAC activity on Wall Street. Levin, who is chairperson and CEO of the company, was formerly CEO of 3D printing technology company Stratasys (Nasdaq: SSYS). Moringa’s target was to find a technology company in Israel with which to merge.
Holisto was founded in 2015 by its CEO Eran Shust, CTO and CPO Avi Wortzel, and Dr. Shay Horowitz. It employs 370 people in Israel, the US, India and the Philippines. Among investors in the company in previous fund-raising rounds were 2B Angels, Connecticut Innovation, travel-tech fund Journey Ventures (Nadav Fattal and Aviv Refuah), and El Al’s investment arm Cockpit Innovation.
Holisto works in a holistic fashion, hence its name. It finds the most suitable booking for a customer through a variety of channels - agencies, distributors, hotel chains, and so forth. It claims that its target market is worth $194 billion. Its revenue has grown from $2 million in the first quarter of 2021 to $7.2 million in the first quarter of this year. 2021 revenue totaled $14.9 million. GBV (gross booking value) via its platform in the first quarter of 2022 was $58.4 million.
Holisto was advised in the merger by Fundem Capital, headed by Adi Mimran and Shlomit Penn, who accompanied the company from the preparation stage to the connection with the SPAC and the signature on the agreement. Holisto was also advised by Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. and law firms Shibolet & Co. and Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP. Moringa was advised by Meitar Law Offices and McDermott Will & Emery.
"From the outset we were inspired by the opportunity to disrupt the large, fragmented and complex travel booking market, using advanced big data and AI technologies that enable incremental cost savings and simplicity through the ability to combine offerings from multiple sources", said Shust. "Our combination with Moringa and access to public markets will allow Holisto to continue to aggressively leverage our technology by scaling our platform and infrastructure and expand our customer acquisition and brand awareness."
"Holisto is innovating with advanced technology solutions in a large, global market which is ripe for transformation for the benefit of the consumer traveler," Levin said.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on June 14, 2022.
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