TLabs Showcase focus on startups featuring US-based flight metasearch provider Hipmunk, created by the founder of Reddit.
Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?
We’re Steve Huffman and Adam Goldstein. Steve previously co-founded Reddit, one of the most popular social news sites on the Internet. Adam just graduated from MIT, and is the author of AppleScript: The Missing Manual.
What financial support did you have to launch the business?
We have angel investments from Y Combinator and SV Angel.
What problem are you trying to solve?
It can take hours to find the right flight buried deep inside one of the results pages of a metasearch site or OTA. We’re trying to help people get a feel for the reasonable options in a matter of minutes.
Describe the business, core products and services?
Our business is pretty simple: two of us working in our living room on code all day.
In our current version, our core product is our interface. We use data from Orbitz to power our search and provide booking links
Who are your key customers and users at launch?
We’re targeting sophisticated travelers and web surfers—people who are eager to try out a different site if it can help them save time
Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?
Not formally, but we showed some early prototypes to some friends and they liked it a lot.
What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?
At the moment, we’re going the commissions path—in the future, we’re going to be exploring all options.
SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?
- Features you can’t find anywhere else, like instant sorting, automatically hiding terrible flights, and intuitive filtering.
- Unknown brand, missing airlines like Southwest.
- Acquiring a large sliver of the sophisticated traveler market.
Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them
- Lack of brand loyalty, large and well-funded competition.
We didn’t get any complete rejections, but plenty of people told us, “it’ll be a lot harder than you think.” They were right.
What is your success metric 12 months from now?
This: Have we made the experience of flight search less painful for tons of people?
NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.