Startups are the lifeblood of any industry. Technology, innovation and progress are made possible due to the efforts of small teams working around the world and their ability to disrupt long-held industry dynamics and beliefs.
The travel industry, for its part, is in the middle of a boom of innovation. New methods for distribution, clean transportation and shared resources are creating an active landscape for travel startups to grow in.
The amount invested in travel startups skyrocketed to over $8 billion in 2017, with Phocuswright research also indicating a massive $36 billion in overall M&A deals and funding between 2015 and 2016 alone.
Aside from just investors, corporations continue to look for strength in smaller startups.
Corporate innovation programs such as Amadeus for Startups, JetBlue Technology Ventures and Ctrip’s Oasis Labs have been making more investments than ever in recent memory.
There were just 18 such deals in 2013, while 2017 saw 88. Certain travel sectors have been especially active; airlines invested in 4x the number of startups in 2017 than in 2016.
Still, predicting which travel startups are destined for success is a complex task. In an industry with a roughly 96% failure rate, it’s often hard to know which ideas have staying power.
Investor interest is one major factor, while others range from user traction in B2C, to the scope and scale of strategic partnerships, to simply a startup’s ability to capture attention in a crowded marketplace.
Taking on this challenge, the teams at Phocuswire and Voyager HQ have attempted to narrow down a competitive and highly qualified global field of startups.
By filtering Voyager’s extensive community of travel founders through PhocusWire’s editorial lens, we highlighted companies we think are best poised for major breakouts in the next year and beyond. Keep an eye out for these 25 in 2019.
The companies on our list are those we feel have the greatest potential to make a difference to their sector or market in the next 12 months – based on their ability to innovate, grow customers and expand geographically, as well as the quality of their leadership team.
To rank potential objectively, we asked contributors to score each company on significant recent fundraising, press, partnerships, product, traction and acquisition potential.
Click on the name of each company to learn more: