Travel & Mobility Tech Newsletter

Dear Readers

After rolling out in cities across the world, e-scooters are finally reaching Germany. App data reveals that this has been eagerly anticipated. 

Today, we also look at which airlines have the highest app adoption.  

And in case you missed last week's edition, here is our analysis of how startups aim to make money in space. Happy reading! 

Lennart Dobravsky
Director Trend & Market Intelligence

Startup Radar

Germans Are Busy Downloading E-Scooter Apps Ahead of National Launch

Following the approval from the German Bundesrat, e-scooters are finally one step closer to rolling out in good old Germany (with some restrictions, such as no riding on sidewalks).

Surprising fact: ahead of the national launch, the mobile apps by major e-scooter providers have already been downloaded close to 100,000 times from within Germany over the past 12 months, according to data from App Annie. 

In the digital age, is this the German way of reserving one's e-scooter with a beach towel?

Anyways, as in so many other countries around the world, the race for e-scooter market leadership in Germany will be fierce with a dozen of highly-funded players competing for the top. 

Based on the number of downloads in Germany over the past year, American unicorn Bird currently holds the pole position with local TIER Mobility in close pursuit. These numbers provide a clue as to which players have a shot at dominating the market.

Note: American bike and e-scooter giant Lime is missing from the chart, as it is not possible to accurately isolate the demand for e-scooters from the demand for e-bikes which Lime already operates in parts of Germany.

Airline Radar

The Airline Digital Index (ADiX)

The Airline Digital Index (ADiX) measures digitalization amongst major western airlines. The metric repository can be found in previous newsletter editions, see links below:

Today's metric is part of the Digital Engagement section of the ADiX, which gathers data about the extent to which airlines' digital products have been adopted by customers. It builds on the core belief that simply offering digital products is not enough; ensuring these products are adopted and used by travelers is just as important, if not the ultimate goal.


Definition: App Downloads in 2018 divided by total passengers in 2018

This metric aims to capture the app penetration amongst the customer base of an airline. The ratio of app downloads to passengers might not be a perfect measure (see disclaimer below), yet it offers some indication about how prominently the mobile channel is used by travelers of an airline relative to others. 

Below the top 10 airlines with the highest app adoption relative to one another (be aware that data has been normalized as absolute download figures cannot be disclosed).
Measuring app downloads relative to passenger numbers tells us how successful an airline has been in convincing its passengers to take up the direct mobile channel.

The ups of apps  

In a mobile-first world, apps are increasingly becoming the number one platform through which mobility providers interact with their customers. While airlines still struggle to establish mobile as a convenient customer touch point (only 5% of all travelers checked in via mobile apps in 2018), mobile apps can greatly simplify the travel experience, if done right.

An app offers 24/7 access to the digital services of an airline – at the traveler's fingertips. People carry their smartphones everywhere, meaning travelers can use these services wherever they are. No lines at desks. No hotline music while waiting for a call-service agent. 

Another important benefit is that users are more likely to register on apps than on websites. Registering unlocks benefits for the traveler such as remembering data that does not have to be inputted again in the future. Processes such as bookings are completed more seamlessly. Check-ins can be fully automized, as is already the case with Lufthansa or Air France.

Airlines also benefit from having registered users, as it provides a direct channel to a known traveler. More data about users = a more personalized interaction between customer and airline. In this respect, having a registered user means the airline partly owns the customer, which can help drive up direct bookings for example. 

Hence, we believe that there is tremendous value in driving up the adoption of an airline app as it will soon become the most important customer touchpoint in the years to come. 
Disclaimer: This metric has a couple problems when used in the airline context. Number of passengers is not a consistent measure of the number of unique customers an airline has. For instance, short-haul LCCs are used more regularly by the same person: maybe several times a year - the app only has to be downloaded once. Long-distance carriers, in contrast, might welcome one of their customers only once every two years. Yet because this metric normalizes with the number of passengers, it is in essence over-counting the number of customers of LCCs. As a result, this metric most likely has a bias against airlines which are used more frequently. 

Furthermore, downloading the app does not mean it is actually used. In future editions of the ADiX, we will look at actual usage, engagement and stickiness. 
Expert Radar

Verena Pausder, CEO of Fox & Sheep, on gamifying travel 

A conversation with the female entrepreneur, and a member of our Advisory Board, reveals how gamification could be introduced in the digital travel experience amongst other uses of technology in the travel value chain.  
 Read the full interview on Medium
Press Radar

Our Recommended Must Reads 

AMAZON EYES TRAVEL WITH SUPERAPP – Amazon confirms flight-booking Launch as part of a superapp strategy. Days after news broke that Amazon had launched domestic flights in India, Amazon India confirmed the launch and touted how customers can now book flights, make utility payments, transfer money and shop for other products “all in one single app.”
 Read more in Skift
AIRASIA BETS BIG ON STARTUPS – RedBeat Ventures, AirAsia’s digital venture arm, is establishing a global venture capital fund to support post-seed stage start-ups. Known as RedBeat Capital, the venture capital fund will invest in scalable start-ups seeking to enter or expand their presence in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on travel and lifestyle, logistics and financial technology.
 Read more in Marketing-Interactive
USE APPLE PAY TO RENT A SCOOTER – Apple and Bird are working together to make the process of renting a dockless electric scooter even easier. Soon, anyone with an iPhone can use Apple Pay’s NFC tag to unlock and rent a Bird scooter, completely bypassing the e-scooter company’s app.
 Read more in The Verge
THE ASCEND OF ELECTRIC PROPULSION – The number of electrically propelled aircraft around the world is pushing 170. An industry-wide shift towards developing electrically-propelled aircraft is ongoing, and recent developments have only increased the momentum. The consultancy Roland Berger has been watching the field closely.
 Read more in Roland Berger
GOOGLE TRAVEL TAKES FORM – Google has launched a travel desktop website that puts flights, hotels and vacation packages, as well as a variety of trip-planning tools and recommendations, all on one page. The features are also available in Google Search and Google Maps, the latter becoming more of a superapp for travel, dining, events, spa appointments, and more.
 Read more in Skift
Funding Radar

Most Recent Venture Capital Deals

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

 GetYourGuide – the German developer of web and mobile-based online tours raised   $484M in funding from SoftBank Investment Advisers, Zürcher Kantonalbank, and further investors.

Virgin Hyperloop One – the US-based developer of hyperloop technology raised $172M in funding from undisclosed investors.

 Away – the US-based designer of travel luggage raised $100M in funding from Wellington Management, Global Founders Capital and further investors. 

Viva Air – a Colombian provider of airline services in Colombia and Peru raised $50M in funding from the Cartesian Capital Group. 

Pathao – a Bangladesh based provider of an online ridesharing platform raised $50M in funding from Go-Jek. 

Treebo Hotel – an Indian operator of a hotel room-booking platform raised $50M in funding from Accor. 

Tourlane – a German developer of a travel consultancy platform raised $47M in funding from Spark Capital, Sequoia Capital, and further investors. 

Heetch – a French developer of a ride-sharing application raised $38M in funding from Total Energy Ventures, Cathay Innovation, and further investors. 

Ghost Locomotion – an US-based developer of core self-driving tech to convert cars raised $32M in funding from the Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, and Sutter Hill Venture. 

YouTrip – a Singapore based payment services company raised $25.5M in funding from Insignia Ventures Partners and further undisclosed investors. 

HYPE technology – an Indian luxury car rental startup has raised $25M in funding from undisclosed investors. 

Mint House – a US-based developer of a hospitality platform raised $13.9M in funding from Revolution, Ingleside Investors, and further investors. 

NestAway – an Indian provider of an online home-rental marketplace raised $10M in funding from Tiger Global Management, and Chiratae Ventures. 

Skylark – an US-based developer of travel platform intended to offer deals on 5-star hotels and flights raised $4M in funding from 25Madison, Ovation Travel, and further investors.

Hostfully – a US-based provider of a guest communications platform raised $1M in funding from Precursor Ventures, MergeLane, and further investors. 

Flypop – a British low-cost and long-haul airline raised $80K in funding from the Angel Investment Network. 

 Resy – a US-based developer of an online reservation platform was acquired by American Express for an undisclosed amount. 

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