Jizo aims to take travel search to the next level in Russia

TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Russia-based Jizo, a new travel metasearch service with a twist on the user experience.

jizo

Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?

We are Serge Lavrentyev and Andrew Antipov.

Serge has spent a better part of his career working for Russian and International airlines throughout the world. In 1999 he co-founded Avantix, the  first Russian OTA, and then launched the first internet sales channel in Russian civil aviation for S7 Airlines.

Andrew has always been on the IT side of Russia’s top OTAs such as Avantix, Anywayanyday (a Tiger porfolio company now) and Amargo (an Asteros portfolio company). We decided to establish a venture of our own, and within just two months Jizo.ru was born. We are five people in Moscow and five people in Minsk now.

What financial support did you have to launch the business?

Jizo.ru has seed investment from Moscow-based Fast Lane Ventures (which is also an operational partner).

What problem are you trying to solve?

Our goal is to deliver value through innovative technology which has not been provided by others in the growth sector of the Russian travel market.

We show travellers the advantages of planning their trips through META, and more specifically show them the beauty and a better efficiency of doing it with our META.

Describe the business, core products and services?

We are a lean and mean startup. We are a metasearch which gives an intelligent choice. We provide a friendly and convenient user experience.

We aggregate data from a dozen Russian OTAs, with direct connects to a number of Russian and foreign airlines.

We also access Chartered flights and Russian rail. We are comparing scheduled flights, Chartered flights and Russian rail all in a single search. This comparison and choice has never been provided to the customers before. It is a key differentiator of the Jizo.ru proposition that drives value to consumers in search and also to our partners for traffic and sources of additional customers.

Who are your key customers and users at launch?

We started with travelers in 15 Russian-speaking countries who already buy their trips online but who wish to compare in order to find the best value. Our next plan is to go global.

Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?

Everybody either wanted another OTA or a “Russian Kayak”. But we took another proven model on the existing markets, more like Hipmunk, and applied it to the demand-driven Eastern European market.

What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?

We are working on a commission basis: CPC and/or CPA with OTAs and CPA with airlines.

We also search European low-cost carriers, worldwide hotels, and car rentals as well as uniqe proposition of charters and Russian rail through our know-how comparison chart. We are also connecting travel insurance, transfers, and some other surprise ancillary items.

SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

Strengths:

  • Two-dimensional search result interface which allows you to understand the dependencies of flight fares on travel time right on the spot: a so called Gantt chart. They say we copied the idea from Hipmunk, but we actually got the idea from 2003 ITA’s “Computational Complexity of Air Travel Planning” report by Carl de Marcken way before Hipmunk was even launched.
  • We are the only company which compares scheduled flights with charters. Charters is not only big globally but in Russia as well. And no GDS, thus no regular OTAs or any other meta searchers can offer you charters. But Jizo.ru does!
  • We are the only company which compares flights with Russian rail trips within a 2,000 km range between destinations served by Russian rail. Such a distance was chosen because no one wants to compare 8-hr flight from Moscow to Vladivostok with a one-week train trip anyway… Russian rail is massive market in Russia. 950 million passengers a year! That’s something you cannot ignore if you’re in the Russian transportation business!
  • We are the only company which will have a direct access to Sirena, a Russian CRS, a 1970s Soviet response to Sabre. It will allow Jizo.ru to have full Russian domestic flight content almost inaccessible through GDSs.

Weaknesses:

  • We are a very young brand, we launched May 1. And Hipmunk tweeted about us on May 2 (should tell you something when key industry players notice so fast!). We need to put more time and effort into promoting the brand and customer recognition now.

Opportunities:

  • Serving travelers who are looking for a pleasant, comprehensive, and most importantly a full and fair trip-planning solution.

Threats:

  • Foreign metasearchers being translated into Russian.

Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?

Our previous employer didn’t see the opportunity so we set about it ourselves and looked for backing and then we met Fast Lane Ventures.

What is your success metric 12 months from now?

In a year time we will be providing MORE value on all sides of the trip for the customer and the supplier, so more searches driving more visits by providing more products to compare. We will be the de-facto consumer brand in our target markets for meta search.

We also have, as we Russians say, a trump card hidden in our sleeve. Give us some time, patience and luck for our idea, we’ll show you that Google-ITA is not the end of the world for the meta search.

This is how good/crazy we are. For example we almost implemented an Amero, a NAU currency, and wanted to show it among our currencies, but the Russian Central Bank does not feed the Mexican peso in real time which is crucial for calculation… So, no Amero for now. Please like us at www.facebook.com/jizo.russia, and we will let you know when we translate Jizo.ru into English for your enjoyment. Which will be very soon.

tlabs logo microscope NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail to someone
 
 
Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.

 

Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No one has commented yet. be the first!

 
 

Newsletter Subscription

Please subscribe now to Tnooz’s FREE daily newsletter.

This lively package of news and information from Tnooz’s web site provides a convenient digest of what’s happening in technology that drives the global travel, tourism and hospitality market.

  • Cancel