Travel & Mobility Tech Newsletter

Dear Readers

We can't stress it enough: digital transformation is arguably the greatest threat to well-established companies in a variety of industries The airline sector is no exception.

Do Wall Street's banking analysts agree?

We wanted to find out how much "digital innovation" is actually discussed between top-level executives of major airlines and banking analysts covering the airline industry.

The result: our most extensive analysis ever. You won’t find this anywhere else. Enjoy.

Lennart Dobravsky
Trend & Market Research Analyst

Trend Radar

We Analyzed The Earnings Calls Of Airlines

We used Artificial Intelligence to analyze the major themes and topics discussed by Wall Street’s banking analysts and the top-management executives of five major airlines during 60 earnings calls between 2015 and 2018.

Our airline sample includes earnings calls by:
•    Lufthansa
•    JetBlue Airways
•    Easyjet
•    Air France KLM
•    Southwest

We are talking about 8,223 paragraphs of unstructured text information, equaling 483,713 individual words which we analyzed via machine learning to identify keywords and phrases in each paragraph.

Our findings provide a quantitative, systematic and objective indication into the most burning topics for each of the five airlines and the extent to which "Wall Street" (meaning the financial and investment community) is interested in how airlines are preparing themselves for a digital future.
 Read the full analysis on Medium
Web Radar

The Complete eVTOL Market Overview

It's a challenge to stay up to date with all the latest happenings in the eVTOL / air-taxi space. We hear about new conceptual prototypes and successful test flights on almost a daily basis.

Fortunately, online platform TransportUP provides a complete overview of all the different manufacturers out there.

Click on the image below to the see complete market landscape.

To provide you with even more clarity on the most relevant eVTOL initiatives, we ranked the ten most promising air-taxi providers based on a combination of hard metrics (e.g. funding received and press mentionings) and our (subjective) expert evaluation.

Airline Radar

The Airline Digital Index (ADiX)

We continue our ADiX series in which we reveal metrics that aim to measure the degree of digitalization of 25 major airlines in Europe and North America. In the last two editions, we presented the top 10 airlines in recruiting digital talent and those with the most advanced WiFi connectivity. 

This week, we share the top 10 carriers when it comes to (desktop) website loading speed. 
Metric #3: Website Loading Time (Desktop)

Definition: Google Lighthouse Speed Scoring

Using one of Google's open-source developer tools called Lighthouse, we assessed the website loading speed of airline homepages in desktop mode (mobile web is different and will be revealed in a future newsletter edition). 

The tool measures the loading speed of various elements of a website, starting with the time to see first visual content and ending with seconds until the page is fully responsive.

A scoring from 0 to 100 combines all these elements and weights them based on importance – more details can be found on GitHub. We chose to use this score, as it seems the most representative of overall speed performance.

Find the top 10 fastest airline websites below:
Why are we looking at website loading times? 

Because it is critical for today's digital consumers, who have little tolerance for slow websites. Research has repeatedly proven the importance of having a fast and responsive website – also one reason why Google's ranking algorithms have been taking page speed into account since 2010.

Here a few more reasons for the importance of website loading time in the digital arena, all backed by data:  
  • A seamless customer experience: 47% of customers expect websites to load in less than 2 seconds
  • SEO ranking impact: a 1-sec delay is associated with 11% less page views
  • Conversion rate killer: a 1-sec delay in loading time reduces conversion by 7%
This illustrates just how much page speed affects top-line impact. Lagging behind in website loading time means lagging behind in online bookings. 

Therefore, we congratulate Austrian Airlines, American Airlines, and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) for topping the Lighthouse Speed Test on desktop. 
Disclaimer: The tool we have chosen to assess website loading speed can be considered best practice, although it is not perfect. First of all, there is some score variability due to a number of factors outlined by Lighthouse. These include using different testing environments, which can be mitigated, but also website and network factors outside of our control. To reduce environment variability, we used the same device and browser to ensure comparability when testing all websites. Hence, interpretations should be derived from relative positions of airlines and not necessarily from the absolute scores. 

Furthermore, we chose to run the Lighthouse analysis on the landing page of each airline only. It could be argued that given varying content, the analysis should be run on all relevant pages of an airline's website. While this might be the case, our goal is to derive a relative indication for the chosen airlines. More in-depth analysis could be done by airlines themselves to assess and improve their website performance. 
Startup Radar

A New Startup Species

With unprecedented amounts of venture capital flowing into startups over the last few years, more than 300 ventures across all industries have reached the prestigious unicorn milestone – meaning a private company valuation of $1 billion or more.

In Travel & Mobility Tech alone, 37 startups currently hold the unicorn status. 

With new startups turning into unicorns on almost a weekly basis, the startup community has come up with a new term describing an even rarer species: minotaurs.

Inspired by the mystical creatures in Greek mythology that are part man and part bull, minotaur startups are the ultimate outliers as they have raised more than $1 billion in venture capital funding.

Only 55 minotaur companies exist today. 10 of these actually come from our Travel & Mobility Tech space. 

Click on the image below to find them all:

Press Radar

Our Recommended Must Reads 

FLIGHT SEARCH BY PRICE – Google Flights users can now set a maximum price to see all flight destinations within that budget. The price tool works with both specific and flexible dates. Once narrowed down, Google Flights will indicate whether the price is high or low and whether it is expected to increase or decrease.
 Read more on PhocusWire
AIRASIA LAUNCHES VC FUND – AirAsia announced it is launching a $60-million venture capital fund in the United States in partnership with 500 startups to invest in startups in the travel and lifestyle, financial technology, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity sectors that want to expand their presence in Southeast Asia.
 Read more on APEX
BLADE'S URBAN AIR MOBILITY PROGRAM – BLADE’s on-demand air-taxi services are now operating in San Francisco and Silicon Valley for a selected few individuals. BLADE is an on-demand transportation company that operates helicopters, private jets, and seaplanes that can be booked via their mobile app and web platform.
 Read more on Transporthub
Funding Radar

Most Recent Venture Capital Deals

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


Grab – the Singaporean ride-hailing platform raised $1.46B in funding from the SoftBank Vision Fund in its ongoing Series H round. 

 Certify / Chrome River Technologies – both American providers of cloud-based travel expense report management software are merging in a transaction worth more than $1B. 

Danke-Gongyu – the Beijing-based operator of an online apartment rental platform raised $500M in funding from Ant Financial, Tiger Global Management, CMC Capital, Primavera Capital Group, and further investors. 

WM Motor – the Shanghai-based developer of electric cars raised $446M in funding from Baidu and other undisclosed investors. 

 HotelTonight – a San Francisco-based provider of a hotel booking application was acquired by Airbnb, the operator of an online property rental marketplace for around $400M. 

Go-Jek – the Indonesian on-demand mobile platform for ride-hailing services raised $100M in additional funding in its ongoing Series F round from Astra International. 

Ola Electric Mobility – an Indian developer of electric vehicle charging solutions backed by Ola, raised $56.4M in funding from Tiger Global, Matrix India, and further investors. 

AirMap – an American developer of an airspace management platform for drones and electric vehicles raised $45.6M in funding from Temasek Holdings and Honeywell Ventures. 

Zum – an American provider of on-demand ride and care services raised $40M in funding from BMW I Ventures, Volvo Car, Clearvision Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and further investors. 

VOI Technology – a Swedish provider of e-kick-scooter rental services raised $30M in funding from Raine Ventures, Project A, Creandum, Vostok New Ventures and further investors. 

Ubitricity – a Berlin-based developer of a virtual charging network for electric vehicles raised $22.46M in funding from Honda Motors, EDF, and Next47 (the VC division of Siemens). 

Remix – a San Francisco-based provider of a public transit planning platform raised $15M in funding from Energy Impact Partners and Sequoia Capital. 

BookingPal – an American provider of a global travel distribution platform raised $12M in funding from Valor Capital Group, Altabix, Amadeus Ventures, PAR Capital Management, and further investors. 

BlackBird – an American provider of a flight-hailing network raised $10M in funding from New Enterprise Associates (NEA).

Withlocals – an Eindhoven-based provider of an online peer-to-peer marketplace intended to provide private tours of cities raised $9.32M in funding from Keen Venture Partners and Inkef Capital. 

One Night – a New York-based developer of a mobile app for same-day hotel bookings raised $5M in funding from SWaN & Legend Venture Partners and further undisclosed investors. 

CitySwifter – an Irish provider of a transport technology platform raised $1.69M in funding from Irelandia Investments, ACT Venture Capital, and further private investors.

Ayenda Rooms – a Columbian operator of branded network hotels raised $1.25M in funding from SoftBank, 500 Startups and Kairos. 

Avionero – a Swedish developer of a flight search engine platform raised $426K in funding from undisclosed investors.

Yibutrip – a Chinese smart travel service provider raised $89K in seed funding from undisclosed investors.

 LoungeBuddy – a San Francisco-based developer of a mobile lounge booking platform was acquired by American Express for an undisclosed amount.

 TravelCar – a Paris-based provider of a peer-to-peer car sharing platform was acquired by PSA Groupe for an undisclosed amount. 

 Eurolines – a French provider of bus transportation services was acquired by FlixBus for an undisclosed amount. 

 HotelsBI – an Israeli developer of a hotel performance analysis platform was acquired by hotel distribution service company Fornova for an undisclosed amount. 

 Roadtrippers  – an American developer of a web and mobile travel-planning platform was acquired by RV maker Airstream for an undisclosed amount. 

Bobobox – an Indonesian provider of accommodation services raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Alpha JWC, Genesia Ventures, and further undisclosed investors. 

Nine2One – a South Korean operator of an e-bike sharing service ("Elecle") raised an undisclosed amount in funding from SoCar, a South Korean ride-sharing startup. 

Space Transportation – a Chinese-developer of a commercial rocket raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Source Code Capital. 

Gozocabs – an Indian provider of taxi and car rental services raised an undisclosed amount in funding from private investors. 

Airgreets – a Munich-based developer of a short term rental service platform raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Ringier Digital Ventures.

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