Following a demo day in London this week, Stasher came out top not only for the business itself but how much it has achieved in the six months of the accelerator program.
The luggage storage startup picked out highlights of the program such as launching new cities, a site overhaul and targeting large hotel groups and festivals it has worked on with mentors from EAN and Hotels.com over the course of the six-month accelerator.
It was a hard fought battle and the remaining four startups – live2leave, DaybreakHotels, Shoot My Travel and triptech, also received recognition for their achievements and how much they had engaged in the accelerator program. The five were initially drawn from some 230 companies which entered for the accelerator program.
Speaking to tnooz about the demo day, Expedia Partner Services president Ariane Gorin says the initiative served as a clear sign of how much “passion, innovation and opportunity to innovate” there is in the travel market.
On Stasher, she says:
“They started out with a strong management team and great business idea. It’s a fragmented market but there is under-utilised capacity and there’s a real customer need. Stasher covers a lot of bases such as its B2B partnerships and if they can execute well and scale, they have a bright future.”
The team from Stasher says the accelerator program really helped it focus on B2B partnerships as well as “evolving its strategic focus with mentors”.
“Our approach was B2C but we can work with big travel companies that can refer customers to us. It’s a win-win – we’re solving a problem for them while they are giving us customers and credibility.”
Of the £10,000 in Hotels.com vouchers prize, Stasher says it will go towards travel expenses as the startup expands into more further new cities.
Gorin also shares that the five teams grew through Hotel Jumpstart in terms of structuring their businesses, framing the business opportunity and demonstrating results.
“It’s a reminder to me how fast things can go when you have passionate individuals and great ideas.”
She says that when Hotel Jumpstart was conceived, it was seeking a variety of businesses with ideas to change the way people access and experience travel.
“Everyone talks about machine learning, artificial intelligence and voice as the themes driving the next wave of disruption but we wanted to look at what are the in-trip experiences that can now be enabled through technology.”
She adds that the program has exceeded expectations in terms of the demand to participate from across the globe, working with the startups for fresh ideas and having “preconceived notions challenged”.
The company is now exploring if it can repeat the program and whether it could be extended beyond London.