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Refundit’s mobile solution allows travelers to reclaim VAT refunds digitally and avoid tedious paperwork and queues at the airport
This is the fourth investment Amadeus Ventures has completed in 2019
After a relaxing holiday full of shopping, the last thing travelers need is the stress of trying to claim back the Value-Added Tax (VAT) on their purchases. Each year, around 90 percent of VAT refunds - or €23 billion - is not returned to tourists throughout the EU.
It’s against this backdrop that Amadeus Ventures today announces that it is leading an investment round of $9.8M in Refundit. Additional investors include, among others, Portugal Ventures and seed round investors.
The startup’s digital solution aims to allow tourists from around the world who are visiting Europe to claim their VAT refund as quickly and efficiently as possible. The solution – which is currently being piloted in Belgium – plans to eliminate the long queues and paperwork so that claiming a VAT refund becomes a fully digital process.
Refundit was co-founded in 2017 by serial entrepreneur Uri Levine, best known for co-founding the driving navigation app Waze, and Ziv Tirosh, former CEO and co-founder of Stockton, the bio-ag technology company.
So how does Refundit work? To reclaim VAT via the Refundit mobile app, non-EU tourists will need to take a photo of their receipts, boarding pass, and passport, and then just digitally apply for their VAT refund. Tax authorities from the relevant country will review the requests digitally and send a digital confirmation to the traveler. This new process is simple, short and user-friendly.
The core innovation that sets Refundit apart from its competitors is the end-to-end digitized process for both the traveler and tax authorities. Up until now, in majority of EU countries, travelers needed to fill in forms and visit the customs counter at the airport, adding unnecessary stress and extra time to the journey.
“The existing VAT reclaim process is cumbersome and inefficient for all stakeholders. By offering its innovative end-to-end digital solution, Refundit creates real value for all stakeholders,” explains Ziv Tirosh, co-founder and CEO of Refundit. “Our solution benefits everyone: the tourist, the retailer, the tax authorities and the country’s economy by making shopping even more appealing.”
“At Amadeus, we constantly look for opportunities to take friction out of travel. We’re very excited to welcome Refundit into the Amadeus family and we look forward to working together with the team to bring this much-needed improvement to travelers” said Stefan Ropers, President, Strategic Growth Businesses, Amadeus, who will be joining the startup’s Board of Directors.
“Refundit and its people tick all the right boxes in terms of what we look for in strategic investments. The app improves the traveler experience enormously and adds value at every step of the VAT reclaim process” said Suzanna Chiu, Head of Amadeus Ventures.
Refundit fits into Amadeus’ strategic goal of empowering the traveler and offering the smoothest possible end-to-end travel experience. As an innovation vehicle to drive collaboration with the startup ecosystem and companies like Refundit, Amadeus launched its startup investment program in 2014. Since then, Amadeus has introduced more than 150 startups to its business and developed more than 20 joint projects with its portfolio companies.
Amadeus Ventures is the startup investment program of Amadeus, where Amadeus makes minority investments in early stage startups at the cross road of travel and technology. The program looks for outstanding entrepreneurs globally, who have already completed a minimum viable product and are already working with a few early customers. On top of funding, portfolio startups will have access to expertise, customer reach and technology.