Oliver Dlouhy, co-founder and CEO
Oliver Dlouhy founded Kiwi.com in 2012 (originally with the
name Skypicker), creating an algorithm that allows users to combine flights and
ground transportation from more than 750 carriers, including many that do not
In a series of interviews with executives participating in the online event in September, PhocusWire finds out what they have learned from the COVID-19 crisis.
Knowing what you know now, if you could go back to the start
of the crisis, what would you do differently?
I would have already had the features in place to better
support our customers with the refund process - our developers worked day and
night to put this in place in two weeks, a project that would usually have
taken six months. I would also have been much more focused on the actual cash
generation and ROI of individual projects and initiatives.
What have you learned from this time about the way you’ll
manage and communicate with your team moving forward?
For us, the remote collaboration was a norm even before the
lockdowns, so it was not that new to the team. It may have accelerated the
evolution toward better and more structured communication and well-prepared
supporting materials, but nothing that wouldn’t have happened anyway.
What do you miss the most about travel?
I miss the way I lived, being on the go all the time,
meeting new people, different cultures, points of view… Travel and migration
are critical to the development of individuals as well as the whole of society.
I miss the feeling after every trip that I’ve become a more complete person,
What have been the surprise benefits to not traveling?
There were no surprise benefits of not traveling for me.
There were some obvious ones, though. Most importantly spending much more time
with my family when working from home and also exploring our beautiful country.
What lasting changes will there be to you personally from
This is the first crisis I have experienced since we started
the business. I am very fortunate to have extremely experienced people on our board
and within my network who are supporting me during these difficult times.
However, the actual real-life experience is priceless. When the next crisis
hits us, it won’t be something completely terrifying for me, but rather an
unfortunate, yet inevitable part of the economic cycle.
What’s been your one guilty pleasure during lockdown?
* Check this interview with Dlouhy recorded in November 2019 for the How I Got Here podcast.