How do these 5 Travel Startup Concepts Compare?

The following 5 travel startup concepts have come from being relatively low-profile startups to FinTechs that have survived a heavily saturated sector. A lot of travel startups launched during the past few years no longer exist due to a lack of funding or due to lack of user engagement.

Overview: Affirm

Acquisitions: 2 Acquisitions

Total Equity Funding: $420M in 3 Rounds from 6 Investors

Headquarters: San Francisco, CA

Description: Affirm allows users to make purchases for travel/products and pay off for the purchases in easy, fixed monthly payments

Founders: Nathan Gettings, Jeffrey Kaditz, Max Levchin


Overview: Airfordable

Total Equity Funding: $120k in 1 Round from 2 Investors

Most Recent Funding: $120k Seed on August 23, 2016

Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois

Description: Airfordable allows users to buy flights for a deposit upfront and pay off the rest
in an easy, flexible payment plan before departure


Holiday villas in Mallorca made to give you the perfect summer.


Overview: Uplift

Total Equity Funding: $8.2M in 1 Round from 4 Investors

Most Recent Funding: $8.2M Series A on November 10, 2014

Headquarters: Sunnyvale, CA

Description: UpLift allows users to book travel now and spread their travels into affordable,
low-interest payments

Founders: Stu Kelly, Brian Barth


Overview: Flyr

Total Equity Funding: $15.34M in 5 Rounds from 24 Investors

Most Recent Funding: $8M Series A on January 18, 2017

Headquarters: San Francisco, California

Description: FLYR predicts and manages price volatility of travel products, enabling a broad range of solutions for travelers

Founders: Cyril Guiraud, Alexander Mans, Jean Tripier


Overview: FomoTravel

Total Equity Funding: Undisclosed Amount in 1 Round from 1 Investor

Most Recent Funding: Seed on March 2, 2017 / Undisclosed Amount

Headquarters: Cape Town, NA – South Africa

Description: FomoTravel is a unique social savings platform that allows keen travelers to pay for future travel experiences.

Founders: Andrew Katzwinkel


Travel Startup concepts

The above 5 travel startup concepts can be successful in any economy because they allow users to make payment ‘before’ they take the flight and not continue to make payments after the trip has ended. The reason is simple: If the user doesn’t pay the installments as scheduled they won’t be able to take the flight which leads to fewer cases of people walking away from their debt.

Core Features
⊕ Core Features:AirfordableAffirmUpliftFlyrFomoTravel
• Country  USUSUSUSSouth Africa
• Installment Payment  YESYESYESYESYES
• Credit Check  NOYESYESNONO
• Interest  NO10% -30% APR4.99% (9.01% APR)NONO
• Booking Fees  A one-time fee on the price of the ticket that varies between 10% and 20%.NO2% origination feeNO FeesNO
• Price Protection  YESNONOYESYES
• Cancellation fee  NONONO - but airline might charge a feeChanges to packages with less than 45 days to departure date a 100% cancelation fee will be charged
• Banking partner  -Cross River BankKansas-chartered bank-Standard Bank
• Late payment Fee  NONO$15.00 late fee along with reporting negative loan activity to the credit reporting agencies.NOA non-payment penalty of 5% on monthly payments that are missed due to reverted bank charges
⊕ Usability:AirfordableAffirmUpliftFlyrFomoTravel
• Booking Flight  Upload a screenshot of your flight detailsThrough a travel partnerThrough a travel partnerThrough a travel partnerChoose from inclusive package deal
• Making Payments  Secure your ticket with a deposit, and pay the rest in installments before your departure date.Pay over three, six or 12 months using a bank transfer, check, or debit cardPay a deposit of typically $200 or $300 and delay paying the rest until 45 days prior to departureSecure your ticket with a deposit, and pay the rest in installments before your departure date.Secure your ticket with a deposit, and pay the rest in installments before your departure date.
• Flight Tickets  Receive your e-ticket after your last paymentReceive your e-ticket after your last paymentReceive your e-ticket after your last paymentReceive your e-ticket after your last paymentReceive your e-ticket after your last payment
Added Value
⊕ Added Value:AirfordableAffirmUpliftFlyrFomoTravel
• Cashback  $100 for first trip over $1500NONONONO
• Co-Branding  not availableNONONONO
• Friend Referral  $25NONONONO
• "Social savings lay-by model"  NONONONOYES - Invite friends and family to contribute to those payments or if you shares your trip on social media, the payment process changes.
⊕ Flight:AirfordableAffirmUpliftFlyrFomoTravel
• Travel Partners  Expedia
Google Flight
Any airline website except
ExpediaMore than 200 travel suppliersJetblue
Singer Group
XL Embassy Travel
bellaire travel
Beachcombers Tour
G Adventures
• Bookable Flights  Departures MUST originate from the US. Multi-leg and round trips are accepted. One ways are not allowedALL - Departures MUST originate from the USALL - Departures MUST originate from the USALL - Departures MUST originate from the USPackage - Departures must originate from SA
• Number of travelers on one booking/payment plan  10UnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecified
• Use frequent flyer number  YESUnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecified
• Flight changes before plan completion?  Yes - with a fee ranging from 200-500$NONONONO
• Flight changes after plan completion?  NO. Only through airlineNO - Only through travel partnerNO - Only through travel partnerNO - Only through travel partnerNO - Only through travel partner
• Unaccompanied minors?  NONONONONO

The travel startup concepts have a few drawbacks

  1. How do they secure an airline ticket for 3 months or do they purchased it right away and just withhold your ticket information (information which a user could always get by just calling the airline directly)?
  2. Some airlines do require credit card verification at check-in. In the case of the 5 travel startup concepts, the booking might be an issue if it is made through the airline’s website and not an Online Travel Agent (OTA) or a brick and mortar agency.
  3. Additionally, if the verification process is declined and the notification might take up to 24 hours. Should the travel startup concepts decline the financing or the fare disappears the user is stranded. Considering that the down payment is due immediately, the user will also have to wait for the processing of the refund. This presents an undesirable situation for the very user group these travel startup concepts cater to.

We will contact these 5 travel startup concepts to shed some light on credit transparency as a liability. Our question: What is the repayment rate considering that micro loan sites repayment rates are around 98-99%?

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A marketing expert for the first-to-be-licensed E-Money institute in Germany, PayCenter GmbH. He has experience in developing online marketing campaigns, online & mobile product launches, and EU funding regulation. He is an active fintech blogger with interests in online banking, mobile banking, mobile payment, and insurance.

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