Over the three years since we launched Amadeus for Startups, travel industry veterans and leaders have moved from recognizing to embracing the unprecedented wave of innovation within the travel sector.
I was recently at the Plug and Play Summer Summit 2018, in Palo Alto, and it is evident that support for travel startups is coming from a wide range of travel industry players – some new, some through diversification – that include multi-industry technology behemoths, incubators and accelerators, private equity firms and venture capitalists. They’re now creating specific programs and providing source funding for travel that rivals other startup-heavy industries, such as FinTech and HealthTech.
Current climate for startups
It was a great event, showcasing Plug and Play’s batch of startups to a varied audience looking to listen, learn, and perhaps partner or invest. The keynote speaker was Chris Hemmeter, Managing Director at Thayer Ventures. He delivered a killer keynote, and something he said really resonated with me based on our experiences supporting the startup ecosystem with our Amadeus for Startups program. He said the current state of travel startups is like, “thousands of wildflowers blooming out of the desert.”
I liken this to the way that the travel industry has been around for a long time, yet the travel experience continues to evolve. The industry is multifaceted, fueling loads of unique and creative ideas. Even more interesting, companies, technologies and funding are increasingly available and accessible than ever before, enabling these unique and creative ideas to become tangible, usable and meaningful.
The startup lifecycle is changing
It certainly can be tricky for a startup to find that entry point, that friendly face, or that “oh so important” introduction to gain traction. But what is clear is that travel is being redefined by startups that are successful. Those that are driving new trends and mindsets are gaining ground.
According to the experts at this event, the startup lifecycle is different now. The time from funding to exit has increased, and startups are surviving longer on their own. Mergers and acquisitions, and initial public offerings are not the only exit strategies. Private equity is strong and secondary funds are popping up as the path to liquidity grows longer and the likelihood of success more real.
Simply put, chances for a travel startup to make it today are greater than ever before. And it can be said that those successful travel startups are pulling an industry ripe for change right along with them.
The post Why travel startups are like wildflowers blooming in the desert appeared first on Amadeus North America.