The Silicon Valley epidemic has changed the world of business. In the past, when leaving University you only had a couple choices, you could have gone into academia, or worked in a large corporation, or started your own subsistence business. Today you can work for a startup, or you can build your own. These unique growth-focused organisations named after mythical beasts are changing our day to day lives, from Skype to Uber. Start-ups push the boundaries of innovation to help us approach the world in different ways, from seeing the face of an old friend thousands of miles away, to not having to deal with the hassle of London cab drivers.
On Angel List there are over 4000 start-ups listed in the travel industry. That’s 4000 start-ups that might just have the same significance for our journeys as Facebook had for our social experiences… ok, that might be a little exaggerated as over 90% of starts fail. This brings the question, which ones should we road-warriors keep an eye, which ones are going to take to the skies (apart from Btrfly)?
Now, we are no water diviners, we cannot suggest that we know which ones will win out in this competition for market share of the travel industry. However, we can point out which ones have the most significance for our frequent travels, and which ones have received the most attention in the funding circles.
On that note, here are 5 flying start-ups that you should keep an eye out for:
- FLYR: Planning the cost of your flights is always a difficulty. How much is flying to Japan in January going to cost compared to March? FLYR combines data science with travel to allow you to lock in flights in the future. Let’s consider you wanting to fly to New York for New Years Eve, at the time of writing, for a round trip from the 30th of December to the 3rd of January FLYR quotes $924 with BA. You can lock in the price and, if the flight turns out cheaper you can spend the extra on your next purchase on FLYR, and if it is more expensive you’ll get a $200 refund, definitely more than the extra it might cost you.
- Wanderu: If you find yourself wanting to roam the United States by road, but you don’t have a driving licence or you just don’t want to rent a car, you can use Wanderu. Built to bring you the best travel options in the United States and Canada they’ve been covered by CNN, TechCrunch, the New York Times and are changing the way people travel in the US. Simple but perfect if you have enough time for a weekend trip and don’t want the hassle of flying.
- Vayable: We’ve all been stuck in bland offices dreaming of experiencing more of the city around us but not really knowing where to start. Vayable is a discovery platform. A portal to the cultural delights of any foreign haven. Not only for the business traveller looking for a little more colour on their trip, Vayable opens you up to experiencing the local ethnic food at private dinners hosted by locals to art and photography exhibitions. A definite story or two to bring back home with you.
- Rocketmiles: Miles seem to get more and more worthless every year. Consider that a simple $20 Gift Card cost 150 Air Miles a couple of years ago where it is 190 today. RocketMiles lets you keep up by allowing you to earn miles with all the key carriers by staying at hotels at your destination. They say that, on average, travellers will earn an extra 80,000 miles per year. That’s an extra 7,000 miles for each reservation made. So about 36 Gift cards, or approximately 1 night in a hotel… not bad.
- AirHelp: And what if all goes wrong, you’re stuck in Heathrow Terminal 3 for four hours because Turkish Airlines had a red-lipstick associated kafuffle (here’s a little more on that topic: link [http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/03/world/turkey-lipstick-ban/]), you get to Istanbul at 4am instead of 4pm… you’re livid. Who do you call? AirHelp. These good Samaritans will manage the painful process of getting compensation from your carrier if you’ve had a sub-par experience. This includes over-bookings, cancellations and delays. So if Heathrow is snowed in again, you know where to go.
Finally, and outside of this list, you have Btrfly, keeping you connected with all the travellers you want to share your experiences with on your journeys around the world.