FLIO, an airport application that started life as a quick way to log people into airport Wi-Fi, has a new owner.
The company behind it, which was launched in 2015 by Stephan Uhrenbacher of Qype fame, is being sold to SOS Travel in Italy.
In a frank post on Medium, entitled "Departed. An Update on FLIO," Uhrenbacher describes the various phases FLIO went through to try and make it in the airport world.
According to the post, FLIO GmbH, the German subsidiary which runs operations, as well as the assets from U.K-based FLIO Ltd., have been sold to SOS Travel, but Uhrenbacher's involvement will end and the company will close.
SOS Travel offers flight and airport information as well as travel insurance and luggage tracking.
Uhrenbacher describes putting FLIO through various phases such a pivot to discounts for passengers at airport retail outlets.
And, later, in 2018, a flight tracker that users would connect their calendars to and FLIO would update them on late departures and gate changes.
He also describes some of the challenges with each phase such as “slow and buggy” Wi-Fi and not being able to retain users.
Finally, in 2019 came phase four, according to Uhrenbacher, with tools to measure the progression of passengers through airports and predict security queuing times and a Depart function to predict when a flight will actually depart based on when it arrived.
However, it all took too much time and, according to Uhrenbacher, investor patience ran out.
He signs off with some valuable advice for startups (all worth reading), of which most poignant is perhaps: “If all your VC friends say no. Could they have another reason than 'not getting it'?”