Hackathon stimulates travel tech startups

A solution for travellers who don’t know where to travel to. Discount offers to fill empty airline seats. A new way to travel with musical instruments. These were just a few of the ideas coming out of Sweden’s first ever travel hackathon.

The energy was electric at Sweden’s first ever travel hackathon - organised by Startup Weekend and sponsored by Amadeus – as 10 teams put on their thinking caps to come up and develop their business ideas related to travel.

WTF Travel beat nine other teams with their idea: a solution to help tourists answer the question ‘Where the f**k should I travel?’ with a specialised search portal that guides users to destinations which meet their needs based on their initial flight searches.

WTF Travel wins mentorship and support from Amadeus, including coaching from Amadeus Ventures as well as an opportunity to validate their idea with the company’s global customer base.

“It was incredibly rewarding to come up with an idea and let it take shape in such a short period of time. The atmosphere was great during the weekend and we learnt a lot from the mentors and the other participants. We look forward to keep on developing our startup.” Love Dager, WTF Travel  

 “The WTF Travel team displayed outstanding execution and created a well-functioning prototype using the APIs from Amadeus … and great teamwork. They have the potential to succeed and, we, at Amadeus, look forward to helping them with training and mentorship along their journey as a startup,” says Tatiana Solodko, Business Development Manager at Amadeus.

Other ideas emerging from the hackathon included PubGlo’s service to make public transportation easier for tourists, and FlyTick which offers travellers discounted prices on empty airplane seats for a limited period of time. Not to forget a search solution for sustainable travel and a solution for travellers flying with their musical instruments.

Besides being a fun event, the hackathon also had a more serious purpose:

“The travel industry is, like many other industries, changing rapidly with new technology such as blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Virtual Reality, which demands new ideas and new ways of working,” says Tatiana.

“We hope this hackathon can be the springboard to a stronger startup scene for the Nordic travel industry. We want to help lay the foundation for a strong travel tech community in the Nordics. In the long run, tighter cooperation between large travel industry players and innovative entrepreneurs will be a win-win for us all,” she adds.

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About the travel hackathon

  • The hackathon took place May 12-14 in Stockholm, Sweden. It was organized by Startup Weekend (a global startup entrepreneurial network) and Amadeus Scandinavia. The purpose of the event is to learn and kick start your company in just 54 hours.

  • Over 60 participants developed their business ideas while being coached by travel industry experts, entrepreneurs, and innovation experts. The 10 teams followed Lean Startup methodology by creating a prototype, a minimum viable product (MVP), validating it with potential customers and answering key questions about their business. The ideas were then pitched to a jury represented by travel industry professionals and startup community leaders.

  • Except for Amadeus, who initiated the event, Startup Weekend Travel Edition has been supported by 14 leading companies such as SJ, Lufthansa, TRAFIKLAB, eTraveli, Hobo hotel, The Park, Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship and several others.