TLabs Showcase - PlanelyNewsBy Kevin May | April 7, 2011Share This article was originally published on TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring Denmark-based social flying platform Planely.Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?Have you ever been sat on a plane wishing you were next to someone else? Have you ever had time to kill as you waited in an airport?Planely’s mission is to help you make best use of your travel time by providing a way for you to view and connect with others who happen to have overlapping itineraries.We make visible, far in advance of your trip, fellow employees, potential new business partners/customers, people to share transport with or people to have a few drinks and a bite to eat with later at the destination.Maybe you don’t want to be social when you fly? That’s OK! People also use Planely to look for someone else who wants a quiet flight.In short, ‘social flying’ is all relative to your wants and needs at that moment in time!Our team is small and distinguished with decades of experience in the social startup world in addition to a huge experience in the travel industry.What financial support did you have to launch the business?None.What problem are you trying to solve?For us, flying is a time-consuming, lonely and boring activity, is it not? The utilisation of our ‘dead-time’ is becoming increasingly important in a time-poor world and we’re always looking to broaden our networks to give us an edge over the competition.For very large multinational organisations there’s a difficulty to manage and measure their employees air travel schedules, miles travelled and resulting CO2 consumed for reporting into their triple bottom line.There’s also the same issue as above in that all employee travelling time is unproductive for the organisation.Describe the business, core products and services?Planely allows air passengers across the world to register their flights and get an instant 'Matches' report back on who else is going to be with them on their plane.They’re then provided with a simple way to reach out to each other and arrange to sit together- days in advance of the trip.Events, conferences and festivals can be loaded into the system so attendees see each other in the Matches report.To-date we have worked with SXSW, CES, Web 2.0 Expo, Le Web, GigaOM, Microsoft and IBM providing pre and post-event networking services.For organisations we can provide detailed analytics in addition to helping their employees connect with each other and existing/potential new customers en route.Who are your key customers and users at launch?Business frequent flyers.Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?Of course! We’re a lean startup with five months of research behind us before we touched any code.What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?Several options are in customer development: Corporate accounts for tracking and analysis of air travelPremium VIP accountsLicensed API to airlinesAggregated data for airportsEventsSWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?Strengths We have a burgeoning community building around the concept of ‘social flying’, we have wide connections in the airline industry, an enormous vision to socialize air travel and a huge passion and drive to succeed internally. Weaknesses: Right now we’re unfunded (though hopefully will be changing shortly), we’re a small team and we’re not based in Silicon Valley, along with all the other cool social startups and integration partners. Opportunities: We’re a small, nimble, well-balanced and focussed team, and we seem to have timed this concept very well judging by the response form the industry. Threats: Same for most startups with the "what if Google did this?" question. Our response? Then we’d out-innovate them!Who advised you your idea isn't going to be successful and why didn't you listen to them?Almost every person I met in Europe. This was countered by an overwhelmingly positive response by those I met in the air doing customer development.I also thought Americans would take to the concept the strongest though have been surprised by the general worldwide response.We get so many lovely emails every day saying that our concept has been a long time coming which gives us the impetus to keep driving forward.What is your success metric 12 months from now?Minimum one airline has signed to become an integration partner.Here is a clip:Planely from Ground Control on Vimeo. NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.