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NowBoarding

NowBoarding was founded by Christopher Moss, who previously founded Psngr1, a business travel
management tool acquired by travel technology firm Snowfall in 2022.

Founded
in 2023, NowBoarding offers a commission-free marketplace for travel brands to
make personalized offers in real time with no intermediaries.

What
is your 30-second pitch to investors? 

NowBoarding
unifies the travel ecosystem by connecting suppliers directly to travelers. Our
integrated marketplace and platform empower suppliers to leverage search terms
and other user consented data in real time to create personalized offers
travelers can’t get anywhere else. One-to-one marketing delivers a 200% return
on invested marketing capital, allowing suppliers to circumvent expensive
distribution and customer acquisition channels to increase customer loyalty,
connection and, of course, sales.

Describe
both the business and technology aspects of your startup.

NowBoarding
is a differentiated business model – we charge suppliers a nominal subscription
to be able to create listings in the platform and sell into our marketplace. By
doing this, we lower the aggregate cost of sale for stays/accommodations alone
by about 97%. Essentially, we’re allowing suppliers to redeploy more than $70
billion back into the ecosystem via personalized offers (current online travel
agencies take rate is $75 billion per annum in commissions). 

Our software delivers low latency power to an ecosystem that has been riddled
with legacy platforms for the past 30 years. All data is hosted on NowBoarding
servers, which allows for a unique and efficient end-to-end experience for both
users and suppliers. The entire platform is governed by our proprietary machine
learning models to help supplier partners better understand propensity to buy
to create that right offer to the right customer at the right time. 

Give
us your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of the
company.

  • Strengths
    – Fresh tech delivering a differentiated product and allowing for the potential
    to move away from a commission-based model that will be highly disruptive to
    the largest resellers of travel today. The team is highly accomplished and
    disrupted Concur travel at Psngr1, acquiring Tesla and other large corporations
    as customers before its sale.
  • Weaknesses
    – Subscription model could potentially be slow to adopt as we need to acquire
    both sides of the marketplace. 
  • Opportunities
    – Deliver the home that travel desperately needs. Friends and connections have
    FaceBook/Instagram, the workplace has LinkedIn, travel needs an all-encompassing
    platform that allows for an interconnected network of travel suppliers with the
    ability to dynamically bundle products and services, allowing for individuals
    at the brand level to have access to customers (i.e., customer service reps from
    brands able to engage directly with customers) and, of course, the ability for
    that click or two perfect trip creation.
  • Threats
    – There’s an unknown quantity of new tech coming that we won’t guess about but
    know that we’ll need to stay agile and continue to push the boundaries of user
    experience that will enable us to retain our customers. Don’t see any
    legitimate threats from existing OTAs or Google as our differentiated model
    makes it very difficult for them to change by cannibalizing their golden goose.

What
are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer
and the industry perspective?

Suppliers
pay way too much to acquire customers – because of this, users are indirectly
paying higher prices.

So
you’ve got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?

Our
product is coming soon – we have two features that we believe will catch fire. PMF
or Price Match Fusion, which allows for travelers who’ve already purchased
hotel stays on one of the major OTAs to come and present that information in
our user interface – we then broadcast out to that property to see if they’d like to make a
personalized offer to circumvent the OTAs.

WMA
or Whisk Me Away allows for users to come in and create a trip and select
specific destinations that they would like to travel to but where they would
only go if the deal is so good, they couldn’t say no. This allows for
NowBoarding to be positioned directly at the top of the funnel and connect the
two sides of the marketplace very efficiently. Yep, we think users will get
comfortable with deals coming their way.

Tell
us what process you’ve gone through to establish a genuine need for your
company and the size of the addressable market.

Our
team is full of travel veterans that have unique and intrinsic experience both
on the tech and commercial sides of the business. We know personalized offers
are the holy grail and very much what the air category is trying w NDC. We also
know the desire in a low margin industry to allow lower cost of sale and
distribution. As Jeff Bezos said for Amazon, he didn’t have to worry about his
customers wanting their package slower – same is true here for our customers,
travel suppliers. Win the supply, we win travel.

How
and when will you make money?

We
charge suppliers a nominal subscription that ranges from free for unverified
personal suppliers all the way up to $5,000 per year for enterprise suppliers
that require integrations into PMS/payment facilitators. To be clear, each
hotel property would be considered an enterprise supplier and be charged $499
per month – just a drop in the bucket versus what they currently pay.

What
are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team?

  • Chris
    Moss – JetBlue and British Airways alum, founder of PSNGR1 where they built the
    company from a PowerPoint in 2016 to acquiring one of the largest companies in
    the world, Tesla, as a customer.
  • Pascal
    Patry – CTO of PSNGR1, GENAIZ, Talos Digital (acquired by Perficient)
  • Maxime
    Fafard – Front end architect PSNGR1, founding CTO of Sofdesk (acquired by
    Enphase)

How
have you addressed diversity and inclusion within your business?

We
hire the best people and oftentimes they are both women and people of color/diverse backgrounds. We fully support all initiatives that provide equal opportunity
for everyone to be involved in the industry we know and love.

What’s
been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?

It’s
been a difficult funding environment but things are softening now. Of course,
tapping into both sides of the marketplace will prove to be a challenge as we
push towards launch however we’re confident in our plan going forward.  

Generally,
travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact – so why are you
going to be one of lucky ones?

I
think a core opportunity for us to be hyper successful here is timing. Forget
about generative AI and just look at the definitive need to deliver travel a
home – both from a platform and marketplace perspectives. Add in our unique
ability to empower brands personalize offerings while reducing cost makes this
a must have for all categories of travel. Tying that with our very experienced
team which allows us to cover considerable ground on the product side but also
architect for the full picture or destination even from the very beginnings
which is almost impossible for first timers in the travel space. Core always to
what we do is a differentiated product in a homogenized business – yet again
we’re delivering something smart yet simple and always personalizing as much as
possible.

A
year from now, what state do you think your startup will be in?

We’ll
have five-plus categories. We’re starting with stays and will be moving quickly
to broaden the offering to both suppliers and consumers. There’s such a big
opportunity to disintermediate the travel industry that we’re excited to give
the tools to the market and help it become efficient.

What
is your end-game? (Going public, acquisition, growing and staying private, etc.)

Our
goal is to bring this to the public markets but along the way to engage with as
many suppliers that we can who’d like to take non-voting positions on the cap
table. It should be a marketplace built by suppliers, for suppliers that just
so happens to be the smartest, most efficient and personal way to plan, book
and manage travel for users.

Phocuswright Innovation Platform

Phocuswright Innovation is a platform that fosters a vibrant and interconnected community of innovators, startups, investors and thought leaders contributing to the overall development of an innovation ecosystem in travel. Using this one link, startups can learn about all of the innovation-related events and programs from Phocuswright and PhocusWire.



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