Travel & Mobility Tech Newsletter

Dear Readers

Digitalization is hard to measure, but we continue to give it a try with our very own Airline Digital Index (ADiX). Over the previous 10 weeks, we have already presented 5 of more than 25 metrics that measure the digital maturity of all major Western airlines.

Check out our previously published results via the links below: 

Today's metric is very special to those who value bug-free and up-to-date mobile apps!  
Find out more below.

Lennart Dobravsky
Director Trend & Market Intelligence

Expert Radar

"Getting from A to B is no longer a unique selling proposition"

Christoph Bornschein is considered one of the thought leaders in the field of digital transformation. Together with his consultancy TLGG, he advises half of the DAX-30-listed companies as well as many global corporations on their path towards digitalization.

As a frequent traveler himself, we asked Christoph how technology changed the way he travels – and which aspects of the traveler journey still need to be technologically addressed, especially within the aviation context.
 Read the full interview on Medium
Trend Radar

VC Funding Update in Travel & Mobility Tech

Global funding in Travel & Mobility Tech startups spiked in Q1'19 with $9.1 billion invested in the first three months of the year (+17% vs. Q4'18). 

Total investment value for 2019 stands at $12.2 billion (as of today) which would result in a full-year run rate of more than $37 billion – a lot of money but less than the record-high $43.891 billion invested in all of 2018.

But where is all this money flowing to exactly? 

According to this PhocusWire article
the go-to areas for travel investors these days are:

  • alternative lodging
  • hospitality solutions
  • corporate travel
  • smart cities
  • and transportation

McKinsey took a closer look at transportation as part of its wider definition of the mobility space and identified the specific segments that received most funding since 2010:

Airline Radar

The Airline Digital Index (ADiX)

Our journey to quantify digitalization amongst major Western airlines continues.

This week, we turn our focus on airlines' mobile apps.

Definition: The average number of days between new mobile app updates on both iOS and Google Play 

Information about app releases is publicly available on both the Apple Store and Google Play. We took a shortcut and received the aggregated data for all of airlines in our ADiX from leading research provider App Annie. With this data, we calculated how often airlines update their apps on average. 

Here are the 10 leading carriers: 
Congratulations to Ryanair, Iberia and Vueling for updating their apps most frequently. 

What do these numbers actually tell us?

There are different ways to interpret app-release cycles.

The most immediate viewpoint: airlines that update their apps with higher frequency are able to more rapidly adapt to changing customer preferences and user feedback. For instance, short release cycles allow the app development team to constantly satisfy users' insatiable appetite for new features and quickly react to a sudden surge in negative reviews that reveal a bug.

This interpretation should be taken with a pinch of salt, though. It could very well be the case that an airline is very good at forecasting future market feedback by conducting extensive User-Interface (UI) and User-Experience (UX) research. In this case, an airline might choose to pack many of the highly relevant updates in larger, less frequent app releases. This is a hypothetical scenario that we don't believe applies to most airlines, but one that cannot be fully disproven. 

More importantly, there is another very relevant interpretation favoring short app-release cycles:

In today's fast-changing consumer world, agility throughout an organization translates into agility in product development. Turning this funnel around: shorter release cycles might reveal that a company's app development team is very well integrated within the larger organization and can act swiftly as other internal departments (e.g. marketing, sales, IT, etc.) do not hold them back but enable them to frequently release updates. Thus, the app development team can bring new features to the market as soon as they are ready. 

For more background, check out this post by TechBeacon for further insights into the benefits of shorter release cycles in software development.
Disclaimer: To keep complexity low, we did not further differentiate between minor and substantial app updates. A more granular and qualitative analysis could have revealed more detailed nuances. 
Web Radar

Visualizing The World's Population

Airline passenger numbers could double to 8.2 billion in 2037, bolstered by strong demand in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the latest 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast from IATA.

To better grasp the scale of Asia's population growth over the past decades, which has been the primary driver behind these changing passenger numbers, check out this animated illustration by The Pudding.

We are big fans of high-quality, visual data journalism and this gem is something everyone should see. Click to see the animated data.
Press Radar

Our Recommended Must Reads 

GOOGLE BECOMES SUPERAPP – Google Maps is ready to transform the world of superapps. Like Tencent-owned WeChat and, to a lesser extent Meituan in China, as well as Grab in Southeast Asia, many are pointing to Google Maps, with its more than 1 billion users, as the next ubiquitous, all-encompassing superapp.
 Read more in Skift
DIGITAL-AIRLINE-OPERATIONS-AS-A-SERVICE – A unique partnership between KLM and Boston Consulting Group, which launched last year to improve digital airline operations worldwide, has announced that Brazilian low-cost carrier GOL will become its first airline customer. KLM and BCG have developed and brought to market solutions based on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced optimization.
 Read more in Future Travel Experience
KIWI INVESTS IN UNMANNED FLYING  Virtual-interlining startup (learn more here) has invested in Zuri, a project aiming to introduce affordable, unmanned flights. The investment will help in the second phase of development of Zuri, which is to produce a “functional prototype" applying vertical take-off and landing technology.
 Read more in PhocusWire
TESLA WITH ANOTHER PROMISE – Tesla expects to launch the first robo-taxis as part of the company's broader vision for an autonomous ride-sharing network in 2020, CEO Elon Musk said. Tesla will enable owners to add their properly equipped vehicles to its own ride-sharing app, while taking up to 30% of the revenue from those rides.
 Read more in TechCrunch
THE WORLD'S LARGEST AIRPLANE – Stratolaunch, the world’s largest airplane by wingspan, took its first flight. Its wingspan is longer than a football field. The tail is 50 feet from the ground. It was made by reassembling parts from two used Boeing jetliners.
 Read more (incl. video footage) in the New York Times
Funding Radar

Most Recent Venture Capital Deals

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

Uber – the ride-hailer's driverless cars business raised $1B in funding from the SoftBank Group, Denso, and Toyota. 

Rivian  – the US-based manufacturer of autonomous electric vehicles raised 500M in funding from the Ford Motor Company.

Traveloka  – the Indonesia-based operator of an online travel search engine raised $420M in funding from Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC.

 Coach USA – a US-based operator of transportation companies (mainly buses) was acquired by Variant Equity for $271M. 

 Drivy – a France-based provider of a peer-to-peer car-rental platform was acquired by Getaround for for $267M.

Lyric Hospitality – a San-Francisco-based operator of a real estate and hospitality platform raised $160M in funding from Airbnb, Tusk Ventures, and further investors. 

(Wickedride) Bounce – an India-based developer of a bike renting platform raised $80M in funding from Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners, and further investors.  – the US-based developer of autonomous driving technology raised $50M in funding from the Beijing Kunlun Technology Company.

Phantom Auto – a US-based provider of technology to remote-control autonomous vehicles raised $13.5M in funding from Bessemer Venture Partners and further undisclosed investors.

Splitty – an Isreal-based developer of an online hotel booking platform raised $6.75M in funding from Fosun RZ Capital, Cockpit Innovation, and further investors. 

Shuttl – an India-based provider of a mobile application based minibus services raised $5M in funding from New Atlantic Ventures. 

Tripoto – an Indian provider of an online publishing platform for travelers raised $3.6M in funding from Chiratae Ventures, 3one4 Capital, and Orchid India.

Locale – an Austin-based operator of a lifestyle apart-hotel company raised $2.5M in funding from Amplo, Susa Ventures, and further undisclosed investors. 

TripScout – a US-based developer of a mobile-centric application designed for self-guided city tours raised $2.1M in funding from Corazon Capital, New Stack Ventures, and further investors.

Campsited – an Ireland-based developer of a booking platform designed to book campsites raised $500K in funding from Motley Fool Ventures.

Zuri – a Czech project aiming to introduce affordable, unmanned flights has raised an undisclosed amount in funding from OTA 

 Liberty Expedia Holdings – an US-based online travel company was acquired by the Expedia Group for an undisclosed amount. 

 MapAnything – an US-based developer of a geo-analytics and location intelligence platform was acquired by Salesforce for an undisclosed amount. 

 Solos Holidays – a UK based operator of a tours and travels agency with a focus on single travelers was acquired by Stone Ventures Partners for an undisclosed amount.  

 TripLingo – an US-based developer of a mobile application designed to offer help in language translation for travelers was acquired by corporate travel management service Travel and Transport.

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