Founded in April 2021 as a way to promote safe travel amid the pandemic, RoadRunAir offers travelers affordable, all-inclusive VIP tours aboard its own planes.
In addition to managing its own fleet of airplanes, RoadRunAir contracts with accommodation and activity suppliers and operates its own booking engine.
What is your 30-second pitch to investors?
Everyone is eager to travel again, but with all the procedures related to health and safety, people are still a bit reluctant. RoadRunAir has created a solution that combines a safe travel environment with affordable, all-inclusive VIP tours aboard our planes.
Travelers get to sit back and enjoy RoadRunAir’s business jets, flying out of private terminals and simply appreciating our fascinating, hand-crafted, all- inclusive, VIP tours in total safety and celebrity style. We are "simpli-flying" travel.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your startup.
RoadRunAir is a multifaceted business: It owns its fleet of airplanes, contracts with accommodation and activity suppliers and operates its own booking engine. We are also planning to have our coaches (which are currently in production now). In order to make this business successful, we understood the need to having a mix of extensive experience in tourism, technology and aviation, which is what we have here in the company.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.
Strengths: We have a new, remarkable price-attainable product in travel. There is no product out there, at this price level, that is effective with both saving time and money. We provide an unforgettable, fun travel experience with good quality transportation, accommodation and food that is led by an experienced team in the fields of travel, aviation and technology. We give the gift of time by saving more travel time one would usually take on a coach tour, for example.
Weaknesses: At the moment, we are not flying to all the United States, but more routes are in development. We need even more planes, and more are on the way!
Opportunities: We have big expansion plans. There’s the opportunity for us to incorporate more routes and cover more destinations and services, as well as partnerships and collaborations that are already in the works.
Threats: With COVID-19 still roaming around, there is the risk of another virus wave, which may lead to travel changes and cancellations. However, RoadRunAir has the perfect solution to keep travelers safe and secure by isolating groups and traveling on private planes, that follow strict health guidelines, and that fly out of private terminals.
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?
The hassle of travel can really put a strain on someone’s trip - long queues in airports, TSA checks, check-in lines, luggage handling and, of course, comfort. People also lose a lot of time traveling and getting to a place. A drive from San Francisco to Bryce is more than 10 hours but with RoadRunAir, your flight is just over an hour, giving our travelers more time to enjoy.
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?
We do have a big marketing focus on B2B distribution, via tour operators and wholesalers, as well as retail travel agents, advisors, and online travel agents, paired with other selling methods such as social media channels.
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We plan to offer competitive prices and competitive commissions to our clients, as well as deploying numerous fam trips in the coming months.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
The size of the market is very broad, as it caters to the travelers of different ages who want to experience a unique travel experience and for those who want to discover more while saving time and money. The demand already exists, especially with people needing a safer way to travel after the big pandemic threat of the past two years. We understand the eagerness of travelers to get back out there too, and we provide a safe and private VIP experience that is priced at a competitive rate an attainable price.
How and when will you make money?
Our tours start this year, and we already have several blocked dates for groups throughout the coming months, which makes us feel very excited about the future and this first push. Of course, we plan to increase bookings well into next year, as travel continues to open and flying internationally is a bit safer. In addition to strong partnerships, we also do save a lot by owning our planes, which will allows us to repurpose a larger sum of our earnings into development of more routes and services.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team?
Our two founders have a fast and extensive experience in aviation and tourism. Moti Engelman, the CEO, is an airline captain, senior deputy at Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority and member of El Al’s board of directors. His partner, Uri Argov, is not only a commercial pilot but also the ex-owner and founder of accommodation wholesaler Tourico Holidays – which was one of the biggest bed banks in the industry, making more than $1.5 billion in sales. Moreover, the entire executive team has extensive experience in technology, hospitality and tourism, which is a great asset for RoadRunAir.
How have you addressed diversity and inclusion within your business?
Yes, of course, we already have a team comprised of individuals from multiple cultures. Diversity and inclusion are already engraved in the core values of our entire organization. We are also constantly evolving and creating more policies as the company continues to grow.
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?
There have definitely been several challenges. Starting a business is never simple and choosing the right people to do it with is very important. Also, with the uncertainty brought by COVID, we were always challenged with the question, when would we be ready for launch?
Moreover, the redesign of the airplanes took time, with several delays in completion due to COVID, which pushed our launch dates further. Getting our AOC, of course, also took time before we could go further. But we are happy that despite the current health and wellness climate, we were able to make it through, and today we are ready for launch.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact - so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
We have a product that is new and is especially needed at this time. People are eager for traveling and discovery. In fact, travel is forecasted to have a huge increase. RoadRunAir is also strongly backed up financially. RoadRunAir provides a completely new, safe and fabulous way to travel and at an attainable price point. Touring on private planes is something many people dream about. Today, with RoadRunAir, we are able to provide travelers with this unique option at a price that is attainable, slightly more than a bus tour or a cruise.
A year from now, what state do you think your startup will be in?
We will have more itineraries set up as well as more planes in our fleet, with trips being more frequent and the demand for our trips even higher.
What is your end-game? (Going public, acquisition, growing and staying private, etc.
This is a startup created by a group of people that were always interested in new ideas and products. Therefore, the big idea here was to add a new travel product that did not exist for the common traveler. Our plan is to run this company uphill, with our itineraries covering the entire globe, always maintaining exclusive air transfer, with all-inclusive packages that continue to be affordable to the common traveler.
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