Travelport to open TechStars-style incubator to mentor and invest in startups

Travelport wants to help new businesses with big ideas get a foothold in the travel industry, by launching an incubator programme for startups.

The Travelport Labs Incubator scheme will run three times a year and take four startups during each of the cycles.

It has borrowed heavily from other cross-industry incbuator organisations and will also be based in Denver, Colorado, close to the spiritual home of the well-known TechStars programme in Boulder.

During the four-month class, those accepted into the programme will be given access to various departments within Travelport to help shape their ideas from a product, design, legal, marketing and development perspective, as well as gain business coaching from senior leaders (including a recently appointed product coach and serial entrepreneur, Richard Grote, and Nicole Shephard, Mark Freeman and Camie Steinhoff ).

Alongside being able to use office space and take advantage of support services at Travelport’s Denver facility, participants will have access to Travelport’s APIs, software development kits (SDKs) and data feeds to help shape their product ideas.

Each class will culminate in a demo day-type event, where participants will be able to pitch their ideas to Travelport executives and other potential partners from different corners of the industry.

Startups will then have the chance to capture investment to the tune of an 8% stake through a seed funding round following completion of the programme.

The launch of an industry incubator follows the implementation of an internal scheme which ran earlier this year at Travelport to encourage employees to come forward and use the same departmental expertise to nurture their ideas.

Head of marketing and product incubation at Travelport, Jason Nash, says the company wants to explore how it can identify “new opportunities” in the travel sector, and then work with companies to help them “tighten their business plan and functionality before going to market”.

“We recognise that we should and want to work with people with passion and ideas for the travel industry.”

The first external class is scheduled to start in late-summer this year.

Nash adds:

“This incubator allows us to join forces with these exciting companies of the future in a mutually beneficial way.

“Our programme is different because we’re running it completely in-house with dedicated experts which really demonstrates how involved we want to get and our level of commitment to taking the most successful ventures forward.”

In May this year, Amadeus launched its Amadeus For Startups initiative with the external Travel Startups Incubator organisation in the US, targeting new businesses in North America.

NB: Startup incubator image via Shutterstock.

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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.



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  1. Drew Meyers

    Very cool to see another travel incubator/accelerator added to the mix. I just updated my post about travel accelerators by adding a reference to Travelport Labs:

    • Richard Grote

      Thanks for the addition to your post, Drew.

      Having attended Global Accelerator Network events in the past and having gone through the TechStars accelerator myself, I know that one of the most important things is to find the right Startup/Accelerator “fit”. Travel is ripe for innovation and it’s fantastic to see more and more accelerators and incubators entering the scene.


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