Singapore, 6 October 2016 - Seven travel startups are in the running in the WIT Startup Pitch competition to win a place in the Travelport Labs Accelerator programme, which comes with seed funding of US$30,000 and US$120,000 worth of cloud credits under the IBM Global Entrepreneurship programme.
The semi-finals will be held at Asia’s largest travel startup event, the WIT Bootcamp, in Singapore on October 17. Three will go on to compete for the top prize in the Grand Finals on October 19 at the WIT Conference.
The startups – Backstreet Academy, Cape, Caption, HelloHere, Sports Where I Am, Trazy, and Zumata – represent entries from Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, Poland and the Philippines.
“We received a record number of entries and it was the most diverse in terms of geography and also in business models,” said Yeoh Siew Hoon, founder, WIT. “It’s a sign of the continuing maturity of the travel startup ecosystem in Asia.”
Jason Nash, global vice president of marketing and product incubation, Travelport, which is powering this year’s WIT Startup Pitch, said he was impressed by the fresh thinking and innovative ideas generated by the shortlisted entries.
“I’m really excited to be part of the judging process and to know that one of these super creative start-ups will join our Accelerator program and have a unique opportunity to bring their business to life.”
The WIT Bootcamp was launched eight years ago as a side event to the main WIT Conference to create a marketplace for startups to be heard and coached as well as connected with investors, other entrepreneurs and travel industry players.
Since then, it has grown to become the largest startup event for the travel vertical, attracting nearly 300 delegates last year.
The travel vertical is seeing growing interest from investors. CB Insights, in this article, noted that this year, travel tech startups have raised over $2.5b across 198 deals, and an increasing number of those deals are moving overseas. In keeping with this, we’re also seeing that top investors in travel tech are becoming a more cosmopolitan crowd. (See infographic)
According to Phocuswright, between 2005 and 2009, 25% of global travel tech startup funding went to startups in APAC; in 2015, it was 51%.
The IBM Global Entrepreneur programme helps startups grow their businesses by giving them access to IBM’s enterprise clients, business mentors, and to meet with technical resources that help startups to design and scale their businesses. The IBM Cloud prize is a year of free cloud credits that startups can use on infrastructure and for building applications with services like Watson.
This year’s WIT Bootcamp is expected to be the largest yet and will feature a series of Founder’s stories as experienced entrepreneurs share lessons learnt on the road to success and new startups flex their wings to growth. Corporations are also taking a bigger interest in startup activities given the urgent need for transformation and innovation within.
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Notes to Editors:
WIT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Northstar Travel Media.
Visit www.webintravel.com to learn more.
Travelport is a Travel Commerce Platform providing distribution, technology, payment, mobile and other solutions for the global travel and tourism industry. With a presence in approximately 180 countries, over 3,700 employees, and an additional 1,200 employees at IGT Solutions Private Ltd who provide us with application development services, our 2015 net revenue was over $2.2 billion. Travelport is headquartered in Langley, U.K. The Company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and trades under the symbol “TVPT”.
About IBM Global Entrepreneur program
The IBM Global Entrepreneur program is a program that helps startups grow their businesses. We work in communities all around the world to help startups gain access to our enterprise clients, connect with business mentors, and meet with technical resources that help startups to design and scale their businesses. And when you join the program you get a year of free cloud credits that you can use on infrastructure and for building applications with services like Watson.
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Image: WIT 2015 Startup Pitch contender
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