5 years ago

Travel startups by the Seine, perhaps a new focus on substance over style

The sizzle in Paris has continued for a few more days this week. And despite the sense that travel is perhaps not as enticing as it was a few years back, some startups still want to give it a go.

Yes, there are some decent ideas from many of the companies coming through, but what is apparent is the shift away from pure content plays (and social only) to ones where there is a substantial effort being put into the longevity of the brand and a decent business model.

Long may it continue!

Anyway, here are few more of the travel-related companies I found kicking around at the Eurosites Les Docks facility in the French capital…

1. TripNCo (from Paris)

What does it do?

  • Collaborative travel platform to help people (and tour operators) propose trips, find common minded participants and workout logistic details. Users belong to tribes and itineraries can be posted to tribes based on interests (trekking, fishing, travelling with kids of a given age, travel for singles…). The planning tool is made available to tour operators who can enable social planning on their own platforms. The site has been launched in June 2012 by founders Ouriel and Damien, and has collected several thousand users through word of mouth.

Business model?

  • Commission from itineraries offered by professional partners. White labelling of the platform to tour operators and specific interest associations.

What is it looking for?

  • Funding + adventure tour operators who will suggest trips and itineraries to specific tribes.

2. Ulmon (from Vienna)

What does it do?

  • Mobile city maps downloaded offline with enriched point of interest content. The maps are connected to a cloud back-end to allow users to pin, share and comment on places. Ulmon maps have already been downloaded 5 million times and there are hundred of thousands of monthly active users on the platform. The apps come in multiple languages and are widely used in Germany, France and Italy. The company run by CEO Tymon Wiedemair is strong on engineering and is entirely self-funded so far.

Business model?

  • Free guides with paid versions offering additional content.

What is it looking for?

  • Funding to develop next generation mobile maps, port to Android and fuel marketing.

3. Taxeo (from Paris)

What does it do?

  • An automated platform to recover VAT on business travel expenses across Europe. The existing refund process requires specialized accountants and is highly manual. The company estimates that 65% of refundable VAT in Europe is never recovered. Taxeo gets invoice data directly from hotel PMS or other merchant systems, generates fiscal valid e-invoices and automatically files refund claims according to each country regulations. The company is run by CEO Jean Cazès and has already raised multiple million euros from private investors.

Business model?

  • Annual subscription card plus success fees on recovered amounts.

What is it looking for?

  • Corporate clients with international travel expenses in Europe, TMC distributors.

4. Libertrip (from Lille)

What does it do?

  • A stunning graphic tool to document and present itineraries online. Users can prepare itineraries to get feedback from friends and family, then update trips with photos and details during the trip. A lot of effort in one year of development has gone into usability and graphics. Since the official launch one week ago, the tool has already gained 6,000 users and is growing virally. Tour operators can also post suggested itineraries and can use the tool to document their own tours on their own web site. CEO and co-founder Julien Poszywala works with a team of five and has raised angel funding to bootstrap.

Business model?

  • Referral fees from tour operators and license fees from white labeled versions.

What is it looking for?

  • Tour operators to create itineraries on the platform, funding.

5. Livetrekker (from Paris)

What does it do?

  • A mobile app to track walks and tours via GPS and add comments, photos and videos. The app takes a position every 5 seconds and generates very detailed tours, then made available on the web. It launched officially 2 days ago in English for iPhone, and will release an Android version by Christmas. The app is made for for leisure travellers but has also attracted interest from businesses who need to track local paths like transportation, constructions and of course tourism. Founder Jean-Marc DeBaud raised 1.2 M eur and works with a team of 12.

Business model?

  • Free for personal use, monthly subscription fee for business use.

What is it looking for?

  • Business clients, new funding in Q2 2013.

6. Cookening (from Paris)

What does it do?

  • A P2P platform to connect travellers with locals offering at-home cooking experiences. The approach is strongly focused on multicultural discovery through home cuisine, and matching guests and hosts with similar interest through common Facebook/Twitter themes. The platform is currently in invitation only alpha test. The founding team is made of a magic trio of business + design + development under CEO Cédric Giorgi, and is bootstrapped with personal funds.

Business model?

  • Guests pay for meal booking online, the platform retains a service fee for making the connection.

What is it looking for?

  • Hosts and guests, partners to distribute home cooking experiences, funding.

NB: Disclosure – Taxeo is a client of Beccari’s.

NB2: Seine image via Shutterstock.

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Daniele Beccari

About the Writer :: Daniele Beccari

Daniele Beccari is a contributor to tnooz, and head of travel products at Criteo.

As travel technology strategist, he has helped startups and blue-chip corporations define and launch innovative solutions in leisure, corporate, online and mobile sectors. He also served as Vice President, Europe and B2B, at Isango! (now part of TUI), and previously as head of corporate products for the e-travel division of Amadeus.

He started his career at HP, working on what is known today as the Internet of things. An MBA graduate from INSEAD, Daniele can be found somewhere between Paris, London, Turin, San Francisco or Tokyo.

Daniele's views are his alone and not the views of his clients or employers.



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  1. Dario

    Great article Mr Beccari!

    Just wondering how you managed to dissect the growth of the start-ups? is there a site which shows how many members a site is garnering? (I’m specifically interested in the quantitative abilities of sites to measure growth? i.e. your example of Libertrip and 6,000 member growth within the first week. )

  2. Psycho

    I like Libertrip and Livetrekker – combined together they would be an excellent travel sharing solution.

    • Daniele Beccari

      You’re right Psycho, very complementary tools. However I would be afraid that the combined product would end up being too complex – at least for my mother.


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