FareUpThere collects flight reviews and enables travelers to earn points for giving their feedback. The startup also provides data to airlines on the passenger experience.
The startup was founded in February, 2020 and describes itself as a "Yelp" for airlines.
What is your 30-second pitch to investors?
FareUpThere is the “Yelp” for airlines: the world’s first app dedicated to collecting and sharing 100% authenticated airline journey reviews.
The app allows passengers to share their flight experiences in exchange for rewards and will give airlines access to “Facebook grade” information on customer satisfaction levels.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your startup.
FareUpThere is, in essence, a “Yelp” for airlines, dedicated to collecting and sharing flight reviews from millions of passengers across the world.
Unlike other customer review sites, FareUpThere gives points per review, which then can be redeemed for gift cards.
All reviewers can earn points, but those that book their flights within the app earn more. While points can be accrued over time, a round trip booked within the app will be enough for “a free coffee from Starbucks at the airport”.
Alongside the consumer app, FareUpThere has also launched FareUpThere Pulse, a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform giving airlines access to super-rich passenger data and feedback, whether from their own customers or from their competitors’.
FareUpThere will offer advanced targeting features rivalling those of Facebook, meaning airlines will be able to pinpoint search criteria on the Pulse platform, whether it be by career, height, age, income and more.
Pulse will allow airlines to target customers with questions about their experience, enhancing, or even replacing, their existing customer feedback loop. Currently in beta mode, Pulse is already delivering a response rate of 71% (as opposed to the 43% delivered by competitors).
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
- FareUpThere is the first and only app of its kind.
- Great timing: consumers want to be sure their air travel is Covid-secure, and 2021 is set for a travel bounce back, so it’s a great time to build up reviews.
- FareUpThere Pulse is delivering much higher response rates than competitors that are responsible for the customer feedback loop.
- FareUpThere Pulse is still in beta mode.
- Limited brand awareness at this early stage.
- FareUpThere can become “the world’s travel companion”, as no one else is doing this.
- More pressure and attention on airlines to deliver better customer experience, and FareUpThere will help with this.
- Skyscanner, Kayak, Expedia etc are currently go-to sites for booking flights. But they offer no incentive, unlike FareUpThere.
- Airline industry in uncertain times due to pandemic.
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?
From a customer perspective, it’s about creating a community for passengers to share their experience of cleanliness, food, customer service etc on flights, instead of the usual social media battlegrounds – this involves a transparent exchange of information in return for rewards.
For the industry, FareUpThere Pulse aims to connect airlines with their passengers and offer a super-rich data source from which they can extract insights, feedback and opportunities.
This targeted data can then be used to improve marketing, customer service, training so they can stay competitive.
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?
We had $2000 of flights sold in the first week, without any marketing budget, so we are fairly confident that we will build up lots of reviews quickly.
Our biggest opportunity for growth however is partnering with airlines, as we grow those relationships, we’ll leverage our partner’s brand identity.
From what we’ve seen on social media, it’s important for customers to be heard, but now they’ll also be compensated.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
Pre-COVID, the global airline industry was a mind-blowing $800B industry. As an airline review app, there was a wealth of information out there from passengers, it just wasn’t in the right place.
We’ve spent countless hours reading traveler airline complaints on social media and conversing with many of them personally before building our product.
How and when will you make money?
For us, there are two routes to success: either lots of consumers using the app for booking and review flights, or lots of airlines using Pulse for their customer feedback loop. 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business.
Until now, airlines have enjoyed a bit of freedom from this. FareUpThere becomes viable once we normalize this behavior for air travel.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team?
Malcolm Woods has been a software engineer for some of the world’s best-known tech brands, including Hulu, Dell and Texas Instruments.
This is his second run at a startup after his first was funded by Tech Wildcatters in Dallas, TX. It also doesn’t hurt to have advisors with over 20 years in the airlines industry.
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?
Launching during a pandemic for sure. It takes great focus and dedication to push forward in an industry that everyone is running from.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact - so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
Pre-journey intelligence and peace of mind has become more important than ever before, with passengers seeking assurance that their flight is safe, hygienic, and Covid-19 compliant.
FareUpThere enables this level of search, giving customers the comfort levels they need to make a booking.
A year from now, what state do you think your startup will be in?
86% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
A year from now, FareUpThere will be touted for its role in bringing confidence back to travelers.
What is your end-game? (Going public, acquisition, growing and staying private, etc.)
We are currently seeking our first round of funding to help grow beyond our current markets of the USA, Canada and UK. Any interested investors can get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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