Whether it’s for business or for pleasure the way people travel is changing. This is driving innovation and growth in the tech travel startup sector where some exciting new businesses are emerging. Here are three worth keeping an eye on this year.
Flight sharing platform Wingly allows people to take to the skies in small private planes or helicopters to celebrate special occasions, enjoy sightseeing trips, or even get an aerial view of their own house, at prices that were previously unachievable.
Wingly enables private pilots to share the cost of a flight they’re planning to take. Once they list their flight on the website, people can reserve seats on the flight and agree to share its costs, on average £50 per person per hour, depending on the make of aircraft and location. Because pilots can’t profit from the service – they can only share the costs of their hobby – flights can be found for as little as £35 ($44). Wingly doesn’t compete with commercial airlines that offer scheduled services.
The business was founded by CEO Emeric de Waziers, COO Bertrand Joab Cornu and CTO Lars Klien, three aviation and entrepreneurship enthusiasts who had all had the idea of flight sharing before they met. In Europe each year around 10 million seats remain empty due to a lack of passengers accompanying private pilots. While flying is an expensive passion for pilots, private aviation is often considered a luxury reserved for the elite. Wingly’s goal was to democratize private aviation and redesign the experience within the collaborative economy to provide millions of passengers with a unique, affordable aviation experience.
The business was originally founded in France in 2015, but after the French national legal context put a halt on flight sharing activity on French soil the team relocated to Germany to launch Wingly there. It commenced its U.K. operations in June 2017. Flight sharing was eventually re-established in France, the result of the decision made by the French Council of State and with the support of the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency).
The majority of Wingly flights take place in Germany, France and the U.K., however the platform now offers flights in 36 different countries. The company has 24 employees and is on track to turn over €5 million ($5.7 million) this year. Meanwhile, pilots who’ve joined Wingly have collectively saved more than £1 million in flying costs.
Originally bootstrapped by its cofounders Wingly has since raised a total of €2 million in funding over two rounds and is planning to raise more funds at the end of this year to expand further into Europe. They are also exploring a possible move into the U.S. market.
This Italian travel tech startup is setting a trend for booking hotel rooms for day use around the world. Guests simply choose the location, date, and room or service they require via the company website or app, and book directly.
Founded by CEO Simon Botto, Flavio Del Greco, Lorenzo Stabile and Michele Spadone in Milan in 2014, DayBreakHotels is the first platform to sell all hotel services on a modular basis during the day, for example, just the spa, just the room, room plus spa, meeting rooms, etc., which has appeal for business, leisure, and luxury, travellers in transit. Prices are between 40% and 70% lower than overnight rooms.
In 2018 the business expanded overseas, into London, New York, Berlin, Paris, and Dubai, a move that saw revenue grow from 0% to 35% of overall business revenue in 12 months. There are now more than 3,500 hotels in the network, spanning 16 countries, and the network is growing fast.
In 2016 the founders completed a €4.2 million ($4.8 million) Series A funding from Italian VCs P101, Micheli Associati and successful travel entrepreneurs. Future plans include raising funds from international investors to boost international growth. Currently established in more than 1,000 cities in 16 markets, their target is to reach 30 markets by 2022. The team has grown from five to 40 people.
A city exploration app aimed at helping travellers uncover the unique locations and stories of a city, Like Locals leverages the insights of a community of local insiders to create fascinating walks. Also known as Footprints, the walks are free, fully self-guided and created by a community of knowledgeable and locals. They include an element of game mechanics using location-based questions that aim to get travellers to look deeper and immerse themselves fully in their surroundings.
Founded in April 2018 by students Gabriella Csányi (CEO) and Constantinos Los (COO), the startup was bootstrapped with €200,000 ($227,000). They plan to begin fundraising later this year.
Like Locals has launched version 1.0 for both iOS and Android in three cities: Budapest, London, and Barcelona, with 30 Footprints in each city. They plan to expand into Athens next month and launch in three more cities in Europe by the end of 2019. Early user feedback has been positive, including requests to launch in cites as far away as Australia.
The company has five full time and three part time staff, all working remotely across London, Barcelona and Budapest. Meanwhile the founders are on the hunt for more content creators to join its growing community of locals across Europe.
Three Exciting Startups To Watch In The Travel Tech Sector – Forbes