Hey Readers!

Some housekeeping before we get going.

Unfortunately, last week's newsletter ended up in a lot of people's spam folders, especially those using Gmail. Boo, Google! To avoid this from happening again, please add to your contacts.

If you missed last week's edition "Airline apps in danger of dying out", check it out right here.

Now back to the regular program. Today's newsletter specs: close to 900 words, a 3-minute read. Enjoy.

Lennart Dobravsky
Director Research & Intelligence, Lufthansa Innovation Hub


Is digital transformation top of mind in all industries?

Market research provider CB Insights reports that mentions of "digital transformation" on earnings calls across all industries have skyrocketed in recent years.
A clear indicator that most companies have very much internalized the importance of digitalization on their core business.

The airline industry thinks differently

Earlier this year, we wanted to find out how much "digital innovation" is actually discussed in airline earnings calls.

So we ran an extensive analysis – the first of its kind in the airline context – and the results are way different than what you would expect. It's quite alarming as airline executives and banking analysts seem to avoid the topic almost entirely.

Not a good sign. Take a look yourself.

Why airports don't like startups

There is enormous potential to innovate current processes at airports.

Traveler surveys reveal that negative emotions along the traveler journey tend to peak when dropping off bags, clearing security, going through passport control and collecting bags after arrival. 

Startups are usually powerful innovation drivers that look for such "broken systems" that can be fixed. Not so in the airport context.

Airports offer a challenging environment for startups

Unfortunately, the airport space is a notoriously tough playing field for any company to turn a profit, much less a startup. 

Our startup database confirms this: out of all 142 startups in Travel & Mobility Tech that have raised more than $100 million in total VC funding, not a single company focuses on the airport experience. It turns out that airports' natural risk aversion is fundamentally misaligned with the uncertainty-embracing nature of the startup world as we explain in more detail here.

Nevertheless, many startups continue venturing into the airport space. Who are the most promising players?

We mapped all relevant startups in the airport context

To gain more insight into this topic, we started compiling a list of all relevant airport startups and identified the hurdles that stop them from prospering in this hostile environment.

Check out our infographic and the accompanying analysis in full via a click below.
 Social Media 

The future of inflight entertainment

The future of inflight entertainment is a very hot topic in the airline industry.

The more content the better!

Many airlines invest heavily in content and big, bright HD screens. JetBlue recently boosted its inflight entertainment content with new partners, such as Showtime and Spotify. American Airlines announced a similar type of deal with Apple Music to stream for free on board. And Delta brought some Hulu content to its planes this summer.

Or no content at all?

However, other airlines – such as American, United, and Alaska – are actually removing seatback screens from most narrowbody aircraft in their domestic fleets.

The rationale sounds straightforward. Now that most travelers carry electronic devices, taking the screens out of seats makes smart money sense on a number of fronts: carriers don’t have to buy or maintain the hardware; planes are lighter and more fuel-efficient.

"Excuse me, Ma'am"

No matter how the future of inflight screens will play out exactly, one thing is for sure: the inflight entertainment program that was recently shared on Twitter by an unknown traveler is certainly not the offering people will find particularly exciting.

Our social-media find of the week:
Have you ever wondered who the team behind this newsletter and our online market intelligence platform is?

Take a look at our fantastic team in our About Us section online. We are a fun combination of travel geeks, data ninjas, and research rangers.
 Press Picks 

Our recommended must reads 

GRAB GROWS ITS SUPER APP – Grab is stepping up the Super App game with four new features: in-app accommodation booking, video streaming, trip planning and ticket buying. Next, it plans on integrating flights.
 Read more on e27
BLOCKCHAIN-BASED FLIGHT TICKETS – Hahn Air tested the first blockchain-issued airline tickets in a partnership with Winding Tree. The service aims to establish an effortless distribution system that directly connects transactions.
 Read more on PhocusWire
HOTTEST STARTUPS OF 2020 – PhocusWire released its list of the 25 hottest companies that have shown potential to break through in 2020 based on their ability to innovate, grow customers, and expand geographically.
 See the full list on PhocusWire
GREEN IS THE NEW ORANGE – Earlier this week, EasyJet committed to offsetting carbon emissions for every single flight they operate. As part of the initiative, the LCC plans to spend about €29 million a year to plant trees.
 Read more on Reuters
HYUNDAI JUMPING ON THE EVTOL TRAIN – Hyundai joined the urban-air-mobility market and announced it would roll out its own flying car technology by 2023 and make it commercially available by 2029.
 Read more on Pulse news
 Funding Update 

Most recent Venture Capital deals

 = Exit Alert (startup listed at the stock exchange or got acquired)

 = Unicorn Alert (post-deal company valuation at >$1B) 

Travelio – the Indonesian online apartment rental startup raised $18M from Pavilion Capital, Gobi Partners, and further investors. 

Refundit – the Israeli VAT-refund startup raised $9.8M from Amadeus Ventures, Portugal Ventures, and further investors. 

Jayride – the Australian airport transfer site raised $3.5M from Thorney Investment Group and further investors. 

JetPack Aviation – the US-based flying motorcycle developer raised $2M from Draper Associates, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, and further investors. 

 GDX Travel – the Bogota-based startup that specializes in airline distribution was acquired by Hopper for an undisclosed amount. 

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