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Staff of online travel start-up ‘GetYourGuide’ working at the company’s headquarters in Berlin.

Jens Kalaene | picture alliance | Getty Images

German online travel start-up GetYourGuide has raised $484 million in an investment led by SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund.

The company, which lets people book tickets for tours and other activities abroad, said Thursday that it will spend the fresh cash on expanding further internationally and adding more recreation options to its platform.

It says it’s now a unicorn company, with a valuation crossing $1 billion, although it declined to comment on its exact market value. That sees it join the ranks of firms like Germany’s N26 and Britain’s Deliveroo as it enters into Europe’s unicorn club.

Based in Berlin, GetYourGuide is a little different to more commonly-used travel sites. Whereas platforms like TripAdvisor and Expedia show customers price comparisons for hotel bookings and flight fares, GetYourGuide only lists things for holidaymakers to do upon arrival.

GetYourGuide CEO Johannes Reck says the firm is tapping into the trend of consumers caring more about in-destination “experiences” rather than “commodity items” like flights and hotels. It has sold more than 25 million tickets to users across 170 countries since it was founded in 2009.

“With this fundraise we can suddenly play in the big leagues of the worldwide leading travel companies, and we can invest with a time horizon of not one or two years but 10 or 20,” Reck told CNBC in a phone interview.

Reck added that his start-up is looking to offer more vacation activities to its app, highlighting events, music and transportation as potential areas it could explore.

“There’s so much that we can still do on GetYourGuide beyond the core product set that we have right now,” he said.

SoftBank backing

Ted Fike, a partner at the Vision Fund, will join GetYourGuide’s board following the investment, the firm said.

Japan’s SoftBank has become a force to be reckoned with in Silicon Valley and beyond with its $100 billion tech fund. Other portfolio companies include recently-listed Uber and soon-to-be-public companies Slack and WeWork.

However, a disappointing market debut from Uber last year has weighed on the group’s share price in recent days. The stock fell on Monday as investors digested the lukewarm reception from the ride-hailing giant’s highly-anticipated initial public offering.

While GetYourGuide doesn’t see itself seeking a stock market listing anytime soon, Reck said it will look to do an IPO “when the time is right.”

The company’s latest round of funding was also backed by Singapore state investor Temasek and notable venture capital firm Lakestar, an early investor in companies like Facebook and Spotify. The news follows much speculation over the deal, after recent media reports said the firm was raising money.

In addition to the fundraising, GetYourGuide also made two key new executive hires. Nils Chrestin, former chief financial officer at the online fashion retailer Global Fashion Group, will take on the role of finance chief at GetYourGuide, while former Instagram exec Ameet Ranadive is joining as chief product officer.

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US-UK trade deal within a year of Brexit will be tight, UK PM Johnson



It will be tight to meet the United States’ desire to do a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain within a year, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday.

Johnson, who took office last month, had his first bilateral meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump earlier on Sunday at the G7 meeting in France and the two discussed a range of issues including trade.

In interviews with British television media afterwards, Johnson said the United States wanted to do a deal within a year of Britain leaving the EU on Oct. 31.

“Years and years is an exaggeration, but to do it all within a year is going to be tight,” he told BBC TV.

Johnson also said the chances of Britain agreeing a Brexit deal with the EU were improving but it would be “touch and go”.

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At G-7, Trump says he is not happy about North Korea missile tests



SAINT-JEAN-DE-LUZ, France — President Donald Trump said Sunday he was not happy after North Korea launched short-range ballistic missiles over the weekend.

“I’m not happy about it but again he’s not in violation of any agreement,” Trump said when asked about the recent string of tests from the North’s Kim Jong Un.

“I discussed long-range ballistic and that he cannot do and he hasn’t been doing it and he hasn’t been doing nuclear testing. He has done short-range, much more standard missiles, a lot of people are testing those missiles, not just him. We are in the world of missiles folks, whether you like it or not,” Trump said.

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said North Korea’s test was in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

On Saturday, North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast, the South Korean military said, the latest in a series of launches in recent weeks amid stalled denuclearization talks.

North Korea, the only nation to have tested nuclear weapons this century, spent most of Trump’s first year in office perfecting its nuclear arsenal. The newest member of the world’s exclusive nuclear weapons club has stopped testing of its nukes for now as the U.S. and international community offer the possibility of relief from crippling economic sanctions.

Under the third-generation North Korean leader, the reclusive state has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, launched its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missile and threatened to send missiles into the waters near the U.S. territory of Guam.

Since 2011, Kim has fired more than 90 missiles and had four nuclear weapons tests, which is more than what his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, launched over a period of 27 years.

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Trump at G7 hints at ‘very big trade deal’ with Britain post Brexit



U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrive for a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit on August 25, 2019 in Biarritz, France.

Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images

SAINT-JEAN-DE-LUZ, France — President Donald Trump met Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson kicking off Group of 7 meetings in the French seaside town of Biarritz.

Clouding the G-7 gathering, which represents the world’s major industrial economies, is the U.K.’s uncertain removal from the European Union.

“He needs no advice, he’s the right man for the job,” Trump said when asked if he had any guidance for Johnson on how to deliver Brexit. “This is a different person and this is a person that is going to be a great prime minister in my opinion,” Trump added of the new prime minister.

In less than three months, Johnson will be at the helm of overseeing U.K.’s removal from the European Union, a move considered to be one of the most significant political and economic changes for the kingdom. And yet, it is still unclear, how, when or if Britain will still leave the European Union. The uncertainty around Brexit has rocked global markets and spooked allies.

Trump said that he would have a major trade deal with U.K. upon leaving the European Union.

“We’re are having very good trade talks between the U.K. and ourselves. We’re going to do a very big trade deal, bigger than we’ve ever had with the UK,” Trump said. “At some point, they won’t have the obstacle of, they won’t have the anchor around their ankle, because that’s what they had. So, we’re going to have some very good trade talks and big numbers,” he said without adding any more detail on a potential deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson attend a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit on August 25, 2019 in Biarritz, France.

Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Johnson said he was similarly looking forward to future trade deals with the United States and praised Trump’s work on the American economy.

“We’ll be having some pretty comprehensive talks about how to take forward the relationship in all sorts of ways, particularly on trade and we are very excited about that,” Johnson said. “And I just want to actually congratulate the president on everything that the American economy is achieving, it’s fantastic to see that,” he added.

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