in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rebound Travel helps
travel companies retain cash by offering customers non-cash alternatives as refunds.
company, one of PhocusWire's Hot 25 Startups for 2021, is founded by Tobias Wessels, a former Google[x] CFO and senior vice
president at Adara.
What is your 30-second pitch to investors?
allow companies to retain cash from payments by offering customers attractive
non-cash alternatives. Airlines, hotels or attractions retain cash and ensure
that travelers return to them for future travel.
San Jose, California
Describe both the business and technology
aspects of your startup.
deploy proprietary algorithms so that our partners offer the optimum offer like
a travel voucher to a traveler, which ensures that the travelers will give up
their entitled cash refund. Our platform ensures that companies retain their
desired cash amount while ensuring that opportunity costs are
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses,
Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
Strong leadership team and first-mover advantage
- Weakness: We are a small company with limited resources and can't (yet) play
all around the world.
- Opportunities: To expand from the airline space to hospitality and then later
to the retail vertical
- Threats: Companies could try to do what we do in-house - which is much easier
said than done
What are the travel pain points you are trying
to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?
allow companies to increase their cash balance by leveraging their customers
essentially as their bank. The traveling customers benefit because they receive
high-value offers from travel companies, which increases their loyalty.
So you've got the product, now how will you get
lots of customers?
already established partnerships in the hospitality space and partners are
lining-up to work with us. Our value proposition resonates, and we are now
raising an early round to invest in our sales team.
Tell us what process you've gone through to
establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable
dire financial situation under COVID for most travel companies surfaced the
need for our solution. We quickly saw that there is common ground and an
opportunity to bring travelers and travel providers together and essentially collaborate
financially. The refunds under COVID are a $50 billion opportunity that we've addressed,
but we are already seeing interest from nearby verticals including retail where
refunds and exchanges create a $600 billion challenge per year worldwide.
How and when will you make money?
are not charging a set-up or monthly fee. Instead we bring money back to our
partners and charge a commission on that amount that we retain. In essence we
bring the budget to our budget.
What are the backgrounds and previous
achievements of the founding team?
team has decades of deal-making experience in the travel space. Our board
members including Mark Schwab, the former CEO of Star Alliance, all bring deep
experience from the airline space to Rebound, which is a phenomenal asset to
How have you addressed
diversity and inclusion within your business?
myself an immigrant to the United States and in each hiring decision we try to hire
people that look less like our existing team in terms of age, gender or
What's been the most difficult part of founding
the business so far?
found that even with a great product and customer adoption time is our most
limiting factor. We see so many opportunities, e.g., in adjacent verticals, and
unfortunately say no to many because we don't have enough time or resources to
work on those new initiatives.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough
time making an impact - so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
Rebound we've established a new business category "Cash Retention,"
which resonates with companies during this crisis but is of importance to any
company even during normal times. Who doesn't want to keep cash and customers?
A year from now, what state do you think your
startup will be in?
will be many more partners that are working with us, and we will also have
begun to exploit opportunities outside travel. Our goal is to offer customers
an embedded e-commerce experience that allows any company to offer customers
attractive non-cash offers and retain cash in refund or situations of a product
What is your end-game? (Going public,
acquisition, growing and staying private, etc.)
the moment we want to bring the benefits of Rebound to as many partners and
traveling customers as possible. The underlying economics of our business are
very attractive and are very mindful when it comes to financing.
PhocusWire's Startup Stage
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