Avionero is a flight search and price comparison site that uses artificial intelligence to help users find flights they might not have been directly searching for.
Unlike typical flight search engines, with Avionero, users can search for flights without specific dates or with
multiple date options, and they can search flights in an entire
country without specifying cities or airports.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your
Avionero is a user-focused startup in the online flight comparison industry,
using a much more modern approach on both user experience and search
technology through artificial intelligence. Our goal is to shake up the industry and prove what can
What inspired you to create this company?
For 10 years, [Avionero co-founder and CEO] Lars Kristensson worked as a developer and system architect at different travel companies - Travelstart,
Momondo and MrOrange being among them. But he realized there was something
fundamentally wrong with the foundation of how all the flight search sites in
the business were built.
It wasn’t until he left for a big traveling industry
conference in London that he realized what it was. The online flight searching
business is a very money-hungry business, largely driven by economists.
Everyone kept talking about revenue, conversions and stuff like that, but Lars couldn’t find anything about the user.
That’s when he realized, we have to do it
the other way around and change the foundation. We can’t actually say we know
every user is unsatisfied, but just ignoring it because there’s no technical
solution - that’s just not working. So through a competition, Lars got in contact
with one of Russia’s best interaction designers, Anton Tyulenev. He told him
about his ideas, and together they created Avionero.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,
Threats) analysis of the company.
Our main strength is a very strong, senior
and dedicated team, combined with newly innovated technology and a high
closeness to the customer.
Weakness is perhaps our size. As a small player, you
have very limited resources, making priorities and every investment decision
key. The opportunity is there to be grabbed. User satisfaction on today’s sites
are mediocre at best, and there is a huge room for improvements - in so many
I believe the main threats are internal. When you scale up fast,
hiring the right people, making the right priorities and maintaining a solid
organization is key.
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate
from both the customer and the industry perspective?
Improved user experience,
especially for users who are either flexible or have more specific
requirements. Most flight price comparison sites are meeting a very narrow span
of user scenarios, and the rest are left to somehow map their needs into that
narrow scope – which is very demanding on the end user.
We are developing a
much more powerful and intuitive toolbox for flight search, based on user
psychology and allowed through new search technology and new thinking in user
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of
We are exploring a broad range of different marketing strategies.
This is a tough market and there is no silver bullet. We are working both
onsite and off-site.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a
genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
spent the last 10 years working as an architect in this industry, with a
special interest in the user problems, going through many reports, interviews
and user tests. Travel, and in particular flights, has become a lot cheaper and
more available, while at the same time, the world population is getting richer.
Most flight price comparison sites are meeting a very narrow span of user scenarios, and the rest are left to somehow map their needs into that narrow scope.
The demand is there. So people use the cheapest and easiest way available,
which is the current online sites. It doesn’t mean they are happy with them, or
that there is no demand for something better.
Most people don’t know their
dates, or even destination, up front when they search for travels. Which is
very natural, because their choice of dates and destination depends on, among
other things, the price. So you have to fake input, to get the information you
need to decide upon the things you first faked.
That is clearly not a good
interaction model, and that’s what we want to change. Also, the beta-release in Sweden has also been met with
great success and user appreciation.
How and when will you make money?
several supplier contracts signed and have already our first revenues
established. So far, via a pre-seed round, as well as a seed round, we’ve
raised almost a million dollars. Our intention for autumn is to raise an
A round of $2.5 million.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the
founding team, and why do you have what it takes to succeed with this business?
Lars Kristensson has spent the last 10 years as architect in the industry, and
has developed several innovations – not least during his time as architect for
Momondo. He has also developed a whole new search technology, upon which
Avionero is based.
Anton Tyulenev is one of Russia’s best interaction
designers, with many won design championships behind him – and a special
interest in flight search and travel.
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We also have a team of handpicked, highly
skilled and cooperative developers. Plus a strong team of engaged investors.
And why we have what it takes to succeed is simply because we can do it better
than the existing flight search sites. Thanks to our business model, we can be
closer than anyone else to the customer, we have the largest inventory of
flights in the world and the best coverage of lowest prices on the market.
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business
Raising the first round. There was always a high interest in our
project, but people were careful, and even though we had several angel investors
ready to go in, no one wanted to take the first step.
For over a year we were
stuck in that situation, with people standing at the line of being ready to
invest, but waiting for someone else to take the first step. It was extremely
frustrating. But once that first step was taken, by two Russian angel
investors, we have since been moving at blazing speed.
startups face a fairly tough time making an impact - so why are you going to be
one of lucky ones?
We are not a regular travel startup. We don’t just come with
one innovation, twist or idea – we are redrawing the whole way things are done.
We approach it in a much more holistic and integrated way. We often get the
question “What’s your one unique selling point?” Well, we don’t have one … we have
more like 20.
What question might we have missed?
Perhaps: When is
actually the best time to book your ticket?
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