Travel & Mobility Tech Newsletter

Dear Readers,

The Blockchain hype has finally reached the aviation industry. The number of press articles discussing the impact of blockchain on the travel sector has exploded over the previous year and the most promising use cases seem to circle around identification, loyalty and aircraft maintenance, as our Press Radar illustrates:
If you have been following our newsletter, you probably know by now that we recently joined forces with SAP to run the world’s first “Aviation Blockchain Challenge” to further explore the commercial viability of Blockchain in Travel & Mobility Tech.

The three winners have been selected and awarded – check out their profiles below. We are working on tangible use cases with them as we speak.

But as always, let's get going with some data including when to best book your Christmas holiday flights. Enjoy.

Lennart Dobravsky
Trend & Market Research Analyst
Trend Radar

When To Book Your Christmas Flights

Booking holiday flights can certainly be stressful because it feels like flight prices are always changing. The level of price volatility around holiday flights is indeed extremely high.
 Prices for Christmas flights will change more than 150 times between now and the holidays according to price prediction startup Hopper, which constantly analyzes
trillions of historical flight prices to predict when is the best time to buy your next flight.
 If you've been procrastinating booking your Christmas holiday travel, you might want to get active ASAP.
According to Hopper, from today on, Christmas prices begin rising more gradually by $4 a day through November. Then prices spike by $6 per day in the final two weeks.

 Read more via Hopper Research
Trend Radar

Europe's Silicon Valleys in Travel & Mobility

Innovation in Europe is naturally a multi-city effort. Compared to the United States where most (digital) innovation is incubated out of Silicon Valley, the tech scene in Europe is geographically more distributed.

But which European cities are the hotspots when it comes to Travel & Mobility Tech?

Here is the top 10 overview based on venture capital flows over the past 12 months:

London leads the way with $273 million of VC raised by respective Travel & Mobility Tech startups over the past 12 months. Most of this went into a handful of category leaders such as Culture Trip and Secret Escapes.

The British capital is followed by our home base Berlin with a sizeable $212 million. Ground-transportation aggregator GoEuro and chauffeur service Blacklane lead the pack in Germany's capital. Paris comes in third with $209 million, the largest chunk of it going to the curated online travel agency Evaneos.

Surprisingly, Estonia's Tallinn – despite having a population of less than half a million – makes the top 5 by attracting a total of $170 million. Important to keep in mind: nearly all of this was deployed into one single startup, Taxify – one of Europe's five unicorns in Travel & Mobility Tech.

Web Radar

Be A Plane Engineer – At Least On Paper

Have you ever dreamed about designing your own planes? Many children, and a considerable number of adults, turn those dreams into reality by folding paper. A paper plane is a beautiful and simple homage to one of the greatest achievements of human engineering.

Check out this comprehensive guide to 36 paper airplane designs compiled by Fold'NFly. From the infamous Basic Dart to the odd King Bee, this website provides instructions and video tutorials to help enthusiasts build any paper plane imaginable. 

 See all folding instructions at Fold'NFly

Startup Radar

First-Ever Aviation Blockchain Challenge: Winners Announced

Nine chosen finalists out of 213 applicants from 56 countries were invited to the Innovation Forum at the Lufthansa Aviation Center in Frankfurt, where they pitched in front of a high-profile expert jury. Winners were awarded in three categories: 
 500Labs won the "Airline Challenge". The startup works on a decentralized flight data infrastructure for the global airline industry. It allows secure and standardized data exchange in real time between all parties involved in flight operations such as airlines, airports
and suppliers.

Sweetbridge won the "Traveller Challenge". It has created a blockchain-based financial marketplace where financial transactions can take place – from factoring to short-term financing. With Sweetbridge, companies can operationalize partially tied up capital and use it elsewhere. Loyalty programs are just one compelling use case. Sweetbridge's marketplace logic makes earning and using loyalty points more attractive to all customers and vendors.

 14bis Supply Tracking won the "Supplier Challenge" for its blockchain application that makes the supply chain of aircraft components seamless and transparent in real time for everyone involved. The proprietary technology is compatible with the most common industrial software systems and thus provides greater transparency along the entire supply chain, resulting in higher efficiency.

 Read the full announcement
Trend Radar

Our Recommended Must Reads 

PREDICTING IN-FLIGHT FOOD CONSUMPTION – Easyjet’s data team analyzed how demand for in-flight food and drinks varied during the day and across routes. After creating a new algorithm to determine what to sell when, the airline is stocking fewer items that would have gone to waste, leaving more room for sure-sellers.
 Read more in Skift
MYTAXI JUMPS ON SCOOTERS – mytaxi, the Daimler-owned ride-hailing service operating across Europe, announced it would launch an electric scooter pilot in Southern Europe later this year, with an international roll-out planned for 2019. The mytaxi CEO outlined the complementarity to the taxi business, "as e-scooters are mostly used for short tours of around one to two kilometers".
 Read more in TechCrunch
BOOKING INVESTS IN RIDE-HAILING – Booking Holdings, the travel company formerly known as Priceline, is investing $200 million in Southeast Asian on-demand ride-hailing company Grab. Booking's investment follows a similar deal with Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi earlier this year and showcases how Booking is trying to attract more customers by integrating its hotel-booking engine into other popular apps. 
 Read more in PhocusWire
Funding Radar

Most Recent Venture Capital Deals

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

Grab – the Singaporean ride-hailing platform is raising new capital in its ongoing series H funding round, with $250M in funding from Hyundai and $200M in funding from Booking Holdings.

Tink Labs – a Hong Kong-based provider of smartphone rental services for hotels raised $300M in funding from undisclosed investors.

Knotel – a New York-based provider of mobile office spaces raised $60M in funding from Norwest Venture Partners, Newmark Knight Frank, and Bloomberg Beta. 

DeepMap – a Palo-Alto-based developer of an HD mapping and localization platform for autonomous cars raised $60M in funding from Generation Investment Management, Andreessen Horowitz, Accel Partners, GSR Ventures, and Robert Bosch Venture Capital. 

Innovusion an American developer of LiDAR sensor systems for autonomous vehicles raised $30M in funding from Nio Capital, Eight Roads Ventures, and F-Prime Capital. 

Transit App – a Montreal-based developer of a real-time urban travel application raised $17.5M in funding from Accel, Alliance Ventures, InMotion Ventures, and Real Ventures. 

Moli Information Technology – a Chinese car-sharing platform raised $14M in funding from Zhongjun Capital. 

Unu – a Berlin-based manufacturer of smart electric scooters raised $12M in funding from Ponooc, Capnamic Ventures, Iris Capital, NRW.BANK, and a private investor. 

Freebird – an American provider of a travel rebooking platform raised $8M in funding from American Express Ventures, Citi Ventures, PAR Capital Ventures, General Catalyst, and Accomplice. 

Properly – a San Francisco-based developer of management software for short term rental servicing raised $8.5M in funding from Asset Management Ventures, AccorHotels, Boost Heroes, Keyword Venture Capital, and further private investors. 

BEAM – a Singapore-based developer of an electric scooter vehicle sharing platform raised $6.4M in funding from Sequoia India, Founders Fund, ZhenFund, Class 5 Global, and further investors. 

Journy a New York-based provider of an online travel planning platform raised $3.15M in funding from Menlo Ventures, Pear Ventures, and a private investor. 

Smartvel a Madrid-based developer of an online platform for travellers raised $2.16M in funding from Caixa Capital Risc, Alsa Grupo, and the Spanish Ministry of Energy, Industry and Tourism. 

Betterez – a Toronto-based developer of a reservation and ticketing platform in the cloud raised $1.08M in funding from undisclosed investors. 

Everbooked an American developer of a dynamic pricing platform for short-term rentals was acquired by vacation rental pricing platform Everbooked for an undisclosed amount. – a Beijing-based developer of fully autonomous vehicles raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Alliance Ventures, Johnson Electric Holdings, IdInvest Partners, Qiming Venture Partners, and further investors. 

AirGateway – a Berlin-based developer of an API and aggregation platform for business travel bookings raised an undisclosed amount in funding from High-Tech Gruenderfonds. 

HomeToGo – a Berlin-based provider of a web and mobile based metasearch engine to book vacation rentals raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Lakestar, Mojo Digital One, and Perpetual Ventures. 

Wanderu – a Boston-based provider of a ground travel metasearch engine raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Alta Ventures. 


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