Flight-free operator Byway Travel is looking to work with agents after securing £1.1 million in funds for expansion.
Byway, which specialises in sustainable multi-stop itineraries in the UK, France and Italy, launched during lockdown.
It uses dynamic packaging technology to allow customers to build their own trips, with support during the holiday via WhatsApp.
Founder Cat Jones said a successful first year, in which she had organised “hundreds” of holidays, meant she was now seeking retail partners.
“We are having initial conversations,” she said. “Our mission and values are really important to us, so when we are speaking to them, we are understanding their values and ethos.”
Jones said it would be “a few months” before any distribution deals were signed.
The operator’s cash injection comes via an Innovate Smart grant, plus the start-up funder Founders Factory and “angel” investors, among them former chair of Visit Britain Chris Rodrigues.
Jones said the money would mainly be spent on more staff, with two developer roles and another to oversee growth among the vacancies.
“Since lockdown, our UK trips have been flying off the shelves and we’ve been flat out managing that surge, so the funding has come at a perfect time,” she said.
Investor Ed Gillespie, a slow travel “guru”, said: “Our investment in Byway is not just about a great bet on a company with a superb founding team and obvious traction, but also about supporting a future of reducing carbon emissions.
“Aviation is a massive contributor to climate change, and over-tourism is a huge ecological issue. Tourism can be restorative to both the people on the trip, and the places they visit. That’s a future I want to invest in.”