Miami, Florida is bringing the heat into the US travel tech scene as LAB Miami Ventures, which designs and launches digital businesses, announces its shortlist of startups for its first annual Future of Travel summit. To be held at the Lightbox & The LAB Miami in the Wynwood Arts District on February 12th, the event is the first in the city to bring together established global travel brands, startups and angel investors for networking and knowledge sharing.
Organised by LAB Miami Ventures, the summit will feature keynote speeches and panel discussions with travel industry leaders, including Marriott International public relations and social media director for Caribbean and Latin America Kerstin Sachl, The Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection managing director Doug Prothero, KAYAK commercial and operations director for Latin America Kaio Philipe, Spirit Airlines eCommerce director Ray Ramdin, Boeing HorizonX Ventures principal strategist Sara Jones, JetBlue Technology Ventures managing director Raj Singh and Travel Startups Incubator, LLC managing partner Matt Zito. A limited number of tickets are still available at futureoftravel.miami.
The 10 startups shortlisted to pitch during the event have been chosen out of hundreds of applicants across five continents. Ranging from a rental car metasearch and multi/modal travel booking platform, to interactive city guides and hotel management systems, here they are by alphabetical order:
Axle Travel (New York, US), a door-to-door ground transportation provider for long-distance travel. Led by long-time friends Bharath Krishnamoorthy and Shawn Vo, it works with bus companies to ensure the fastest, safest, most affordable and enjoyable trip possible.
Daycation App (Florida, US), a booking service that sells hotel amenities and ancillary services, such as the spa or the swimming pool, on a modular basis starting at $25 a day. Founded by Matt Boney, Alex Novo and Mohamed Soussi, it provides both to individual day pass purchase and membership options.
Hotel Online (Kenya), a cloud-based reservations management and marketing system to help smaller hotels access more than 100 online sales and marketing channels. It was formed by the merger of Savanna Sunrise Ltd and Hotel Online Sp. z.o.o., with offices across Nairobi, Kampala, Lagos, Warsaw, Dubai and Oslo.
Porter and Sail (New York, US), a guest services technology provider for boutique and luxury hotels led by Caitlin Zaino von During and Deepak Shrivastava. These services include e-commerce platforms, guest-facing front-end mobile applications (iOS and Android), back-end operational dashboards, and industry-first analytics and data insights.
PurpleCloud Technologies (Philadelphia, US), a mobile software products suite for the hospitality industry led by Adria Levtchenko. Its flagship, “Cielo,” contains housekeeping, management, engineering and front office modules, and provides the fastest possible access to room status and guest information.
RentingCarz (Florida, US), a car rental brand comparison for residents from Latin America and the Caribbean to use. Founded by former Hertz Global Holdings executives David Preciado and Grace Villamayor, it allows travellers from these regions to rent a car from anywhere in the world at the lowest available price.
SIMPLENIGHT (US) a one-stop-shop for searching and booking everything there is to do in any city. The B2B2C platform built by Mark Halberstein acts as merchant of record and takes commission on all inventory sold, pays transaction fees and shares the net revenue with the distribution partner.
SoundWalkrs (Colombia), a smartphone app that helps travellers explore a new city through a series of GPS-guided, audio walks led by fictionalized versions of historical figures from a city’s past. This mobile travel guide conceptualised by Analucia LeCompte also lets users create and share their own personalized maps as well as find and bookmark exciting things to do.
Viajala (Colombia), a multi/modal travel search site founded by former Expedia (Escapar), Voyages SNCF and Rakuten employees. It allows Latin America travellers to go through multiple travel suppliers at once, including local online travel agencies and airlines not be found elsewhere. These travellers, in turn, become the premium audience for travel brands to distribute and advertise their offers.
VoyHoy (Chile), a one-stop online booking and comparison platform for bus, ferry, train and plane tickets throughout Latin America. Co-founded by Jacob Moskowitz, Roger Robinson and Ignacio Vial, it claims to make the process of acquiring the best deal among thousands of travel tickets simple and secure for its market.
The 10 finalists are competing for a chance to attend Phocuswright’s Startup Battleground in Las Vegas, an on-stage pitching opportunity at Seatrade Global, and other prizes worth more than $20,000. Amadeus for Startups director Kerri Zeil, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd corporate strategy manager Noam Beno, EveryMundo president Seth Cassel, Boatsetter founder Andrew Sturner, and Oasis Collection founder Parker Stanberry compose the panel of judges. The event also gives attendees a chance to vote for their favourite as the “People’s Choice.”
LAB Miami Ventures was launched in 2017 to build new digital businesses in partnership with established corporations, and to help build bridges between large companies and the South Florida startup community. Its parent company is the LAB, a coworking space in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami, Florida which has hosted and brought together entrepreneurial minds since 2012.