Women’s business travel organisation secures nearly £500k investment

Funding pot will help maiden-voyage.com scale its global expansion 

Women’s business travel organisation maiden-voyage.com has secured nearly half a million pounds in investment from private investor and business angel Tony Rice, who has also joined the board as chairman.
Launched in 2008 by Carolyn Pearson, maiden-voyage.com is a global specialist in the fast-growing female business travel market. With 8000+ members in more than 80 countries, maiden-voyage.com is said to be the voice of the female business traveller and industry think tank.
Used by large organisations and individual business travellers, the organisation specialises in travel safety and duty of care, partnering with some of the biggest names in travel.
Pearson says she launched the site because she was frustrated with the lack of opportunities for women to explore the cities they were travelling to on business and to connect with other female travellers after spending too many nights spent in hotels eating room service and dining alone in hotel restaurants.
She created a platform through which women could meet up when travelling on business.
Today, maiden-voyage.com recommends female friendly hotels accredits business travel providers and ‘travel aware’ employers and provides female traveller safety training and produces industry research, driving best-practice across the industry.
Rice said: “I got involved in maiden-voyage.com two years ago when Carolyn and I were speaking at an event at Cranfield School of Management and subsequently stayed in touch.
“I acted as a mentor to Carolyn as she developed the business concept and model. When she was looking for investment to accelerate the growth of the business I was delighted to participate as Carolyn is a very dynamic and creative entrepreneur and maiden-voyage.com offers a capability which is not only unique but also beneficial and needed by female travellers, helping employers and travel industry players to fulfil their duty of care to their female managers and staff”.
Rice progressed his career through the finance function at British Telecom and subsequently finance and general management roles at British Aerospace culminating in group MD of commercial aircraft responsible for airbus and regional aircraft production and operation.
He moved to chief executive of Tunstall, the private equity owned telecare business, in 2002 until its sale in 2005, when he became CFO of Cable and Wireless, the Footsie 100 telecoms company and subsequently CEO from 2008 to 2013.
Rice has been a serial investor in the SME sector for many years in a variety of different industries including software, manufacturing and telecoms.
Prior to launching maiden-voyage.com, founder Pearson lead technology teams at easyJet, BBC, ITV, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Sony Music. She holds an MBA with distinction, a degree in business and IT and went through the Cranfield School of Management Advanced Leadership programme.
She has recently joined the GBTA (Global Business Travel Alliance) Risk Committee representing women and LGTB travellers.
Pearson said: “I’m delighted to have Tony on board. He brings a wealth of knowledge with him across many different sectors and his particular skill in growing and scaling businesses will undoubtedly take us to the next level.
“His skills and knowledge are complimentary to mine and the investment will be used to replace our predominantly freelance staff base with industry heavyweights, revamp our technology to increase growth and member engagement and convert our classroom training modules to elearning to that we can reach a wider global audience.”
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