Love your life, if you don’t, no one else will
Love your life, if you don’t, no one else will
My personal math has the Travel Startup success rate at lower than 1/2 of 1%.
I’m calculating over 1000 travel startups in the last decade with less than 50 ‘successful’ startups.
The rate for Big Time success is even lower maybe 1/10 of 1%
It may be too early to tell, but I essentially agree with this post on Pando Daily from a few months ago. Travel was one of the early candidates for a market that could be disrupted by the creation of the Internet. There are several very profitable companies that have fundamentally monopolized the space. In the US Market, there is Expedia (created by Microsoft in partnership with GDS’s) 1996.
Orbitz.com (created by United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines & Northwest Airlines in 1999). Two of Orbitz’s founding creators no longer exist. Travelocity.com was created by Sabre (a GDS) which was wholly owned by American Airlines at the time. Priceline.com was founded by Walker Digital (a very successful company with over $300M in revenues in 1998).
So of the big 4 Online Travel Agencies in the US, none represents what we typcially consider a startup, and 2 were actuall existing players in the market just shifting from offline to online.
Tripadvisor.com (11 years since founding) certainly meets the criteria.
As does Tripit.com which was acquried for $120M by Concur.
Farecompare has done very well (founded by Rick Seaney & Graeme Wallace from work they did at Hotels.com)
There’s also Farecast (founded by Oren Etzioni) purchased by Bing.
Flightcaster (Evan Konweiser, ex-kayak staff member) was purchased by NextJump. I’m not sure NextJump is successful, but I guess I count this as a good exit.
Portland based Flightstats.com (a Datalex spin-out) seems to be doing quite well.
More recently there is Gogobot (too soon to tell whether it will last, but it has strong user growth)
And of course there is star-studded Hipmunk.com
Sidestep and Swoodo, both acquired by Kayak can probably also be considered true startups that succeeded by getting acquired. ($200M for Sidestep, unknown for Swoodo). But now we’re venturing outside the US Market where there are a few other notables:
Cheapflights.com (founded in 1996)
Skyscanner (11 years in the making, started on the backs of 3 guys, 2 of whom kept their fulltime jobs for a while)
Danish born Momondo, (6 years old),
Maybe you can count Datalex (founded in 1985) but they don’t really fit the criteria of a start-up
There are many more notables like ClearTrip.com from India, but the point I’m trying to get it is this:
In just 2010-2011 Tnooz lists in excess of 300 startups in the travel space, only Gogobot and Hipmunk from that era are surviving at any significant level of success.
The era of the Travel startup may be over. The cost of creating a startup in other areas is just too low, and trying to disrupt the travel space without serious connections and money is seeming less and less likely. I’m not sure if developers will ever stop trying to tackle this space, but it’s certainly beginning to seem less and less likely that they will succeed.
Want to mention some other companies that you think qualify as ‘successful’ travel startups? Send me a note or comment and I’ll update my post.
I’m always astonished by the articles that discuss startup failures. There are many definitions, but in the tech community. If you’re not fully funded or have overwhelming user acquisition momentum within the 1st 12 months, you probably fall in the FAILED category. This one doesn’t attempt to cover the whole 90% statistic, but looks at a few side by side cases. Worth looking at.
I am subscribed to The List Serve, it’s a service where 1 member writes 1 email that we all receive each day. Content tends to be very advice oriented, “never give up, pursue your dreams, be happy”. Sometimes it’s confessional. Sometimes it’s instructional. Often it’s insipid. But I still skim it everyday and today there was a Gem so I’m re-posting it here without permission.
So the story goes…..A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold that the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field. While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out!
He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing under the pile of cow dung and promptly dug him out and ate him.
Moral of the story:
(1) Not everyone who shits on you is your enemy.
(2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
(3) If you are happy and warm in a pile of shit then it’s smart to keep your mouth shut!
………and the doctor recommends (I really am one) :-
1) Make an effort to smile everyday, it will help you live longer.
2) Don’t forget how to use a pen. 2) Enjoy your single malt scotch as it was intended…straight and unadulterated. 3) Take time to sit with your eyes closed for atleast 10 minutes…it will open up your mind.
4) Read IF by Rudyard Kipling and Auguries of Innocence by Wiliam Blake.
5) Everything will be alright at the end, if it’s not alright then it’s not the end
Live long and prosper my friends!
Springfield Illinois, USA
Follow them on Twitter @thelistserve
So, I’m 40. That’s not particularly old. But I am fully an adult. I have a 21 year old stepson, and 11 year old daughter, a wife, I used to have a mortgage and I have life and car insurance etc.
Young Entrepeneurs constantly portray the mindset of older folks (adults) as having abandoned their dreams.
My take on it is that it comes down to your perspective of the future. As you age, the future becomes less abstract. It arrives, as it were, as it is. In the future you could have been the next Hemingway, except you’re not. You’re a 40 yr old serial entrepreneurial technologist with 2 kids.
In the future you could have invented Instagram and earned a billion in shaky Facebook stock. But you’re not. You still keep track of your hours and you usually invoice some one for Travel expenses and you pay attention to when the reimbursement check is scheduled to come.
So being an adult is about abandoning yor dreams. dreams just have shorter shelf life. There isn’t an opportunity to wait 5 years to be the next you. It’s today.
Dreams cost more because they last less long. And they mature into market value sooner. If I dream of being In band at 42. I pretty much need to learn to play guitar today. If I dream of running a marathon. I need to enter a 5k run for next month. If I dream of owning a home, I need to put away 15% of my next check towards a down payment.
So adults haven’t abandoned their dreams, they just have to work harder to have a dream, because tomorrow is today and dreams don’t come cheap. They live or die on what you did this morning.
This is in response to a recent post by OM Malik
Basically it’s that Stick With It advice you hear so often. I usually agree with most of his insights but this one just rubbed me the wrong way.
FACT => Most startups fail
CONJECTURE => Many go down in flames with debt, unpaid salaries, legal liabilities, broken promises, divorces, friendships ended etc
CONCLUSION => Most startups fail too late.
In my experience startup Entrepeneurs have by definition already got the stick with it gene. They wouldn’t be doing a startup of they didn’t. In fact I would say too many of them have a delusional sense that of they just keep trying to hang on, somehow it will all work out allright.
In fact the best piece of advice I can give is this: When you find yourself with a shovel, deep in a hole, STOP DIGGING.
Practically what this means is that it’s better to retreat when the writing is CLEARLY on the wall, regroup, maybe take a temp job, and come at it again a bit later when you’ve digested what went wrong how your luck worked against you.
So stick with it by all means, but don’t believe the fantasy that if you stick with something that isn’t working, all you need is persaverence.
My brother Val just recommended this video to me to cheer me up. It worked.