Travel & Mobility Tech Newsletter

Dear Readers

Our Trend & Market Intelligence Head Lennart is out this week. Instead, this is Junior Intelligence Analyst Oswin sitting in the pilot seat today.

We continue our quest to measure the degree of digitalization amongst airlines. This week, we are revealing another metric of our Airline Digital Index (ADiX), which will be finalized and published this summer. 

Offering connectivity up in the air has been a challenge for a long time. Through extensive research, we were able to assess the extent to which an airline's fleet is equipped with WiFi infrastructure

Find the results below and keep your eyes peeled for the next ADiX metric in two weeks. 

Furthermore, and as promised in our last edition, we have also identified the Travel & Mobility Tech startups which are most likely to reach the prestigious unicorn status in 2019.

Oswin Krüger Ruiz
Junior Intelligence Analyst

Startup Radar

The World's Your OYOster  

More than 90% of hotels have less than 100 rooms. Yet major hotel chains do not operate properties with less than 100 accommodations.

Especially in Asia, the hotel landscape is highly fragmented which makes it hard for OTAs like or Expedia to capture and offer a broad inventory via digital channels.

Shooting star OYO Rooms, founded by a 25-year old Indian, identified these two structural challenges and has built one of the fastest-growing hotel franchises in Asia on the back of real technology. It captures the under-utilized inventory and targets the niche not filled by either large hotel chains nor OTAs.
The company has raised over $1.5B and is a proud member of the Asian Travel & Mobility Tech unicorn club. Check out our in-depth analysis of OYO Rooms and its vision to disrupt the wider hotel industry.
 Read more on Medium
Startup Radar

10 Startups in the Race to Become the Next Unicorn

A promise made is a debt unpaid. 

Together with our VC team, we analysed the Travel & Mobility Tech landscape in order to identify the ventures that are most likely to achieve a market valuation of more than one billion dollars this year. 

These upcoming unicorns were selected on the basis of their growth and likelihood of raising an important round in 2019: 

 Wheels Up
Founded in 2013
$565M raised to date | Provider of membership-based aviation services

Founded in 2004
$525M raised to date | Designer and manufacturer of zero-emission buses

Founded in 2011
$480M raised to date | Developer of clean energy products, mainly an electric scooter with rechargeable smart batteries

Founded in 2010
$229M raised to date | Provider of a web and mobile based location data platform

Founded in 2009
$216M raised to date | Provider of an online car-rental marketplace

Founded in 2008
$171M raised to date | Provider of a web and mobile based online tours and travels platform

Founded in 2007
$164M raised to date | Provider of a travel technology platform

 Boom Supersonic

Founded in 2014
$154M raised to date | Manufacturer of a supersonic aircraft

 Sonder (Online Platform)
Founded in 2012
$134M raised to date | Provider of a peer-to-peer home rental platform


Founded in 2016
$91M raised to date | Developer of an HD mapping and localization platform
Trend Radar

Private Jet-Hailing: The Potential of an Uber Model

Business jet travel is a high-end industry. Based on insights from consultancy LSP, we reveal that there is a financial opportunity in democratizing it – something that startups like JetSmarter, JetSuiteX and Wheels Up are already trying to accomplish. 

Why could an Uber model work?

For starters, business jets are very expensive to operate:

In addition to high fixed costs, it seems that most business jets are not used at full capacity. They actually sit around most of the time, apart from the 46 min a day during which they fly on average:

How big is the opportunity? 

The total private flight time in 2017 was 480K hours in the US, which is known to make up the vast majority of the global private jet market. With prices per flight hour ranging between $1,000 and $8,500 (let's say an average price of $2,000), we get a total market value of around $1B. 

Would an Uber model be welcomed?

Despite the opportunity, skeptics might argue that business jets are a vanity asset and its owners not interested in monetizing their jet's spare capacity. According to a survey, however, nearly half of business jet owners expect an
Uber style model in the next 3 years.

Airline Radar

The Airline Digital Index (ADiX)

Two week ago we revealed the winners for our first metric in the Airline Digital Index: Recruitment of Digital Talent amongst airlines. If you missed it, check out our last newsletter.

Today, we are going to share our second metric and results for the top 10 airlines. 
Metric #2: In-flight WiFi Connectivity

Definition: Share of
fleet with WiFi infrastructure 

We extensively researched hundreds of public statements, fleet upgrade reports 
and plane registries to ascertain the share of an airline's fleet with WiFi infrastructure. 
So what are the key take-aways

This metric is very indicative of digital capabilities in our eyes and hence an important part of the Airline Digital Index. We hold the belief that airlines which place emphasis on digital success strive towards ensuring a seamless digital experience onboard. While some passengers relish the (rare) lack of connectivity that flying can offer,
travellers see it as a disturbance. Providing the connectivity option to customers is undoubtedly a digital asset.  

We are therefore happy to congratulate Southwest, JetBlue, Delta
and Alaska for winning round #2 and pioneering in-flight WiFi connectivity. Although Southwest might have discontinued some of its WiFi access due to repeated problems

Despite the merits of this metric, some caveats are appropriate. For passengers, the importance of WiFi connection is inversely proportional to the length of the flight. Short-haul airlines might place less emphasis on providing WiFi, as the disturbance to daily life by disconnecting is smaller than in long-haul flights.

In that respect, seeing this metric as indicative of digital success is slightly unfair towards short-haul carriers. Anyhow, the ranking reveals that some short-haul carriers like Southwest and Eurowings have chosen to equip an important share of their planes with WiFi. Vueling, a short-haul LCC, has also committed to
equip its flights with WiFi. With technical feasibility increasing and in-flight WiFi prices (hopefully) falling, air passengers might soon come to see lack of in-flight WiFi as an anomaly. 
Disclaimer: The metric should be taken as an approximation of WiFi availability as it is based on public information about a fleet's WiFi infrastructure. Some airlines might have equipped their fleet but discontinued WiFi access after technical problems. We are also aware that some airlines might have equipped more of its fleet with WiFi without making the information public. Nevertheless, we believe that most airlines are incentivized to readily share details about its fleet's connectivity because WiFi access is a customer-facing service.

This metric is also limited to measuring WiFi infrastructure – the digital capability to provide in-flight WiFi – and says nothing about the reliability and speed of the connection, which depends on numerous other factors.
Press Radar

Our Recommended Must Reads 

RYANAIR LAUNCHES ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP – Ryanair has launched its first frequent flyer programme, but it’s nothing to do with points. The scheme, dubbed Ryanair Choice, costs £199 a year for membership and offers passengers free seating choice, fast-track security passes and priority boarding on every booking.
 Read more on The Telegraph
BMW AND DAIMLER INVEST IN JOINT-VENTURE – Daimler and BMW have officially merged their urban mobility services. The goal is to incorporate REACH NOW, CHARGE NOW, PARK NOW, FREE NOW and SHARE NOW. Both automakers plan to invest €1 billion to foster these services, which already have 60 million users collectively.
 Read more on TechCrunch
HOW VUELING USES INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES – The LCC (part of IAG) explains how it uses innovative technologies to improve the customer experience. The airline has already embraced Amazon Echo / Alexa and tested facial recognition on one of its routes last year. It is also planning to introduce in-flight WiFi this year. 
 Read more on Future Travel Experience
Funding Radar

Most Recent Venture Capital Deals

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

Rivian Automotive – the American manufacturer of autonomous electric vehicles raised $700M in funding from Amazon. 

 Ushr – an American developer of a high-definition (HD) mapping technology and software was acquired by Dynamic Map Platform for $200M. 

OYO Rooms – the Indian operator of a branded network of hotels raised $100M in additional funding from Didi Chuxing, the developer of an online taxi booking platform in its ongoing Series E round. 

Ola – the Bengaluru-based developer of a ride-hailing mobile application raised $92M in additional funding from Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal in its ongoing Series J round. 

LandSpace – a Beijing-based manufacturer of launch vehicles intended to offer private space launches raised $43M in funding from China Growth Capita, Zhongji Investment, 36Kr, Juzhuo Capital and further investors. 

Wheels – an American provider of dockless electric mobility intended to share moving bikes for rides raised $37M in funding from 3L Capital, Bullpen Capital, and Crosscut Ventures. 

Mojio – a Vancouver-based developer of a connected car platform raised $30.68M in funding from Kensington Capital Partners, Amazon Alexa Fund, T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, Robert Bosch, and further investors. 

ParkHub – a Dallas-based B2B parking technology provider raised $13M in funding from Arrowroot Capital and a private investor. 

German Autolabs – a Berlin-based developer of a digital voice AI platform for automotive use raised $10.32M in funding from Atlantic Labs, Coparion, GoBeyond, Target Partners, and further investors. 

Pickyourtrail – an Indian travel startup raised $3M in funding from private investors. 

Zoba – a Boston-based developer of a mobility demand prediction software raised $3M in funding from CRV, Founder Collective, and private investors. 

Bounce – a New York-based developer of booking platform for bag and luggage storage raised $1.2M in funding from Seabed Venture Capital and private investors. 

Ticket2Me – a Philippine blockchain-enabled ticketing startup raised $350K in funding from Singapore-based Citystate Group.

 ArrivalGuides – a Swedish developer of a travel destination content platform has been acquired by Lonely Plant, the travel guidebook publisher, for an undisclosed amount. 

Zhouyou Technology – a Chinese developer of dynamic packing technologies for airlines, hotels and OTAs raised an undisclosed amount in funding from its European partner Peakwork, a developer of travel software products.

Like Chuxing – a Guangzhou-based operator of a timeshare-based car-rental platform raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Ant Financial, Junlian Venture Capital, K2VC, Lighthouse Capital Partners, and further investors. 

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