Amadeus looks to developers and partners to widen innovation strategy

Amadeus Ventures, a fund for early-stage startups, has announced its ninth investment with a tenth in the pipeline.

Barcelona-based Avuxi (startup pitch here) helps visitors to a destination find the most popular places to go via a ranking system.

Investment in the company feeds directly into the fund’s strategy to support companies that are in line with six core themes, identified by Amadeus as potentially disruptive to travel.

Avuxi is a natural fit for the ‘improved conversion’ theme while Amadeus will also be looking at ways it can also innovate in blockchain, extended content, messaging platforms, operations & performance and disruptive forces.

Alongside the setting out of the six themes, the distribution giant has also decided to widen its innovation remit to developers and partners.

Speaking to tnooz, Katherine Grass, head of innovation and ventures, Amadeus, says it is now establishing a developer programme following feedback from the startups it has worked with so far.

“One of the things they want is a better way to connect with our APIs so the next programme is Amadeus for developers.

“The real work is not just in which APIs we open up to third party developers but how they connect and consume that. We see a platform there and a self-service model for companies to use. We’re looking at thousands of companies to connect there.”

A further strand to the innovation strategy is a Partnership Programme with Civic, Stubhub and 30k announced as the first partners.

Civic is a specialist in identity management using blockchain, Stubhub is a ticket marketplace and 30k is a flight loyalty specialist.

The idea is to bring on between 10 and 20 partners every year.

Grass says:

“We need to partner with emerging companies to reach our strategic goals.”

She adds that the evolution to a developer partnership programme comes from the realisation that the company needed a “portfolio offering.”

Grass says the company manages to strike a balance between innovation and return on investment by allowing for a level of experimentation and a “mindset to take risks” while also having goals.

“It’s knowing that it might not turn into a product but potentially other ideas. We follow a rigorous funnel framework with metrics to be achieved and then make the decision together as to whether we continue, change or cancel. And, that’s the same whether it’s a longer term project or shorter.”

Ventures, Developers and Partnerships programmes all sit under Grass and she sees the newer initiatives as a maturing of the company’s approach to innovation.

She says the Ventures fund, which begun three years, has also evolved with the company moving up from two to three investments a year to three to five.

“The approach is still very much that we want to engage with those companies after we invest so that is a comfortable number.”

She adds that the focus areas have also evolved with personalisation and content dominating conversations two years ago while now it’s themes such as about increasing conversion and messaging platforms.

Related reading:

Six investments in – Amadeus Ventures on home runs and being hands on

Image via Sergey Nivens for Bigstock

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