Travel & Mobility Tech Newsletter

Dear Readers

Our data point of the week comes from research firm Frost & Sullivan: according to a recent industry survey, a substantial 91% of airline executives feel that their carriers are either more advanced or at least keeping up with their competitors in terms of digital readiness (find the full article in our Must Reads below). 

So, all good in the airline industry from a digital perspective, right? 

Well, we disagree. If executives were correct and the majority of airlines were really digitally advanced enough, industry experts and travelers wouldn’t say the opposite. And, we – the Lufthansa Innovation Hub – wouldn’t be needed.

Since we really enjoy our jobs (and want to keep them) AND believe that digital innovation means a heck of a lot more than having a few digital initiatives in place, we continue our quest to precisely lay out why the airline industry still has a long way ahead to fully leverage the potential digitalization has to offer. Check out today’s Airline Digital Index (ADiX) results to learn more. Enjoy.

Lennart Dobravsky – Director Research & Intelligence

Trend Radar

Here Comes The Boom

Finally, e-scooters have rolled out in Germany. And as in many countries before, the e-scooter war between a handful of highly-funded micromobility providers, who pretty much all offer exactly the same hardware, is in full swing.

Who is winning the e-scooter race so far?

Below you find the share of total app downloads for all four major e-scooter providers during the first two weeks of scooter operations in Germany. The underlying data comes from intelligence platform App Annie.

It turns out: home-grown TIER has taken the pole position up until today capturing an impressive 45% of all e-scooter app downloads in Germany since June 17th. It's worth noting though, that TIER also equipped German cities with roughly twice as many scooters as Lime (3,000 vs. 1,500). They really wanted to kick off strong!
Important to re-emphasize: the above "market shares" are calculated based on "number of app downloads" and NOT the "number of rides", which would have been a more accurate metric to score performance (but the data is difficult to obtain).

We crunched the numbers

We got interested to find out more and crunched a lot of numbers this week to estimate the individual performance of each scooter provider over the past 16 days. You can view the result below: an exclusive look at e-scooter app download trends for each operator in Germany. It's something you won't find anywhere else, so you might want to forward this newsletter to your colleagues and scooter-riding friends.
Particularly interesting is TIER's strong uptake in downloads on Saturday and Sunday during week one – this is when they really leapfrogged the competition. Download figures tend to go up during the weekends for all operators (as more people want to explore the city, especially tourists) but TIER seems to have better exploited this higher demand (e.g. via positioning their scooters at the right places).

But the chart also indicates that the rat race is far from over! 
TIER's daily estimated download figures slowed down heavily since last Sunday with Germany's second local operator CIRC about to take over Lime to close the gap.

We will keep you updated on the fierce e-scooter competition in Germany in future newsletter editions. For more on e-scooter usage data during the first two weeks of operations in Germany, check out this Tagesspiegel article (only in German).
Airline Radar

The Airline Digital Index (ADiX)

Here we are again with our latest Airline Digital Index (ADiX) results. Before we get into today's metric, check out our repository of previously published ADiX results below:

This week, we assess the extent to which social media plays a role in generating website traffic for airlines: 


Definition: The share of website traffic generated by social media sites (i.e. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) 

And the winners are...
With this metric, we quantified the extent to which an airline's website traffic originates from social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. The winners Delta, KLM and Latam can be congratulated for realizing the importance of social media in today's digital world. 

What's so important about social media?    

Firstly, it's a well-known fact that younger generations spend a lot of time on social media platforms. In fact, a survey of teenagers in Germany (12 to 18 years old) reveals that social media sites are amongst the most popular online hangout places with YouTube and Instagram being even more popular than Google and Amazon! 
For businesses that seek to capture the attention of potential customers, it's important to understand where to look for them. If younger generations spend so much time on social media, it follows that businesses – airlines as such included – attempt to strengthen their presence on Instagram and co and drive traffic from those sites to their own. This is mainly done through online marketing. Even if younger generations are not the most likely to buy today, they are the spenders of tomorrow.

Furthermore, as branding is an important component in the airline industry (signaling safety, quality, service level, etc.), communicating that value to younger generations is of primal importance to ensure the longevity of an airline. 

A second way to understand the importance of social media in Travel & Mobility Tech is through the rise of the so-called Super Apps, especially in Asia. These are apps with extremely over-engaged users and the potential to monopolize attention on a regular basis, to the extent that they become a platform for bundling all sorts of every-day services. The stellar example of this business model is WeChat, which has over 1 billion monthly active users and combines messaging, payment, sharing, e-commerce, and increasingly transport. Apps with this kind of influence are poised to become as powerful as Google. 

Super Apps are usually built around core services for every-day needs, for example, ride-hailing for daily commuting (see Grab and Go-Jek in Southeast Asia). Another way to drive up engagement is by adding a social media component to the mix, given the frequency of usage it can generate. A great example of a travel company leveraging social media in their Super App strategy is Ctrip, which has built an Instagram-like platform that already has over 1 million daily users

While it is yet unclear what role social media can play in the airline industry, Ctrip shows there is an opportunity in the broader travel context. It offers a chance to position a brand amongst younger generations, trigger nicely integrated buying mechanisms and develop new business models that use social media to drive up engagement.
Disclaimer: It is debatable to what extent airlines' digital capabilities should be compared on the basis of how much they choose to target younger audiences through social media. Cheaper airlines will naturally find a more responsive customer base in younger groups while premium carriers are more interested in capturing business and long-distance travel. As such, the metric might be slightly unfair towards premium carriers. 
Expert Radar

VC investor Jeannette zu Fuerstenberg on the state of digitalization in aviation

Women are heavily underrepresented in Venture Capital, but Dr Jeannette zu Fuerstenberg is an outstanding example of a successful female startup investor. She is Founding Partner and Managing Director of La Famiglia, a Venture Capital fund investing in early-stage tech companies across Europe and the US. 

We asked Jeannette  about her perspective on the state of digitalization in aviation and what this industry can learn from others.

 Read the full interview on Medium
Press Radar

Our Recommended Must Reads 

AIRLINE DIGITAL SURVEY  Frost & Sullivan’s recent customer research survey among airlines segmented as Tier I, II, III and IV, based on their annual passenger traffic volumes, came up with some interesting insights about airlines’ digital transformation.
 Read more in Forbes
GOOGLE'S NEW PREDICTION TECHNIQUE – Google announced a pair of updates for its mapping application — one that will offer live traffic delays for buses in the cities where it didn’t already provide real-time updates, and another that will tell you how crowded your bus, train, or subway car will be.
 Read more in TechCrunch
BOEING ENTERS EVTOL GAME – Kitty Hawk, one of the flying car startups backed by Google founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page, announced that it’s partnering with Boeing to develop its semi-autonomous flying taxi.
 Read more in The Verge
TRAVELPERK & LUFTHANSA TEAM UP  Barcelona-based travel management company TravelPerk is now offering all customers direct booking with Lufthansa Group Airlines through new distribution capability technology, hinting at a larger shift within the travel booking industry.
 Read more in Skift
VC VIEW ON TRAVEL TECH – Venture Capital firm Lakestar presented its take on Travel & Mobility Tech at this year's Noah Conference in Berlin with interesting insights on the most recent startup and VC trends. 
 Watch in full on Youtube
Funding Radar

Most Recent Venture Capital Deals

 = Exit Alert (Startup listed at stock exchange or acquired)
 = Unicorn Alert (post-deal company valuation at >$1B) 

 Grab – the Singaporean operator of an on-demand ride-hailing platform raised $300M in funding from Invesco as part of its ongoing Series H. 

 Tripactions – the American developer of an end-to-end travel management platform for corporate travel raised $250M in funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners, SGVC, and further investors. 

 Ola Electric – an Indian developer of a platform intended to provide electric mobility raised $250M in funding from SoftBank. 

Huangbaoche – a Chinese operator of a travel platform designed to provide tour packages and travel guide booking services for outbound Chinese tourists raised $50M in funding from Shenzhen Capital Group. 

Swvl – an Egyptian developer of an app-based mass transit system raised $42M in funding from BECO Capital, Vostok Ventures, Arzan Venture Capital, and further investors. – a Canadian provider of an online shuttle booking platform raised $15M in funding from BMW i Ventures, Autotech Ventures, Cycle Capital/Ecofuel, and further investors. 

Cellpoint Mobile – an American developer of a mobile payment platform for the travel and hospitality industries raised $14M in funding from Toscafund Asset Management. 

Flyr – an American developer of an online platform designed to enable airlines to circumvent the limitations of pre-filed or deterministic fares raised $10M in funding from undisclosed investors. 

Splyt – a British Developer of a transportation platform designed to provide an interconnected global experience raised $8M in funding from Grab. – a Nigerian developer of a mobile moto-taxi ride hailing application raised $7M in funding from NovaStar Ventures, Yamaha, Goodwell Investments, and further investors. 

ConnexPay – an American developer of a travel payment solution raised $7M in Series A funding from BIP Capital, Pamela Joseph, and other undisclosed investors. 

POUCHNation – a Singapore based end to end guest management platform for events and venues raised $4M in funding from Traveloka and SPH Venture as part of its Series B. 

Taxi2Airport – an Amsterdam based developer of a vehicle booking platform for airport transfers raised $2.4M in funding from VOC Capital Partners and VentureBuilders Capital. 

Commuter Club – a British operator of a public transport ticketing platform raised $2.4M in funding from Seedrs, a crowdfunding platform. 

Fairjungle – a French developer of a travel platform designed to simplify corporate travel booking raised $2.1M in funding from Whitestones Ventures, Thibaud Elziere, Eduardo Ronzano, and Bertrand Mabille. 

Bzzt  – a Swedish operator of taxi pods raised $1.7M in funding from Anna Stenberg, Carl Pei, Hugo Rehnberg, and SAR Group.

BeMyGuest – a Singaporean provider of an online tour booking platform raised an undisclosed amount in funding from undisclosed investors.

Bolt (formerly Taxify) – an Estonian developer of a mobile based taxi booking platform raised an undisclosed amount in funding from NordicNinja VC. – an American developer of artificial-intelligence-based self-driving technology was acquired by Apple for an estimated $77M. 

 Nabobil – a Norwegian developer of a peer-to-peer car rental platform was acquired by Getaround for $12M 

 Qixxit – a German developer of a cross-mobility platform was acquired by for an undisclosed amount. 

 Tripstack – a Canadian developer of a flight itinerary aggregation software was acquired by Etraveli via its financial sponsor CVC Capital Partners for an undisclosed amount. 

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