Ethan Bernstein, Freebird – Phocuswright 2017


(electronic music) – Freebird is a mobile
flight rebooking tool backed by some serious data science. We empower travelers to
instantly book a new ticket after a flight disruption
for free on any airline with only three taps on their phone. We’re focused exclusively on
the corporate travel space so we’ll partner with TMCs and sell into their corporate clients, so travel managers. Travel
Managers can select their most important and valuable employees
to cover with Freebird. Once they select the employees to cover, we cover them automatically
behind the scenes every time they travel. – [Michael] You’ve just come off stage. Second time up there, but
third time we met you. It’s been interesting. We met you year one then Sam, year two. Within the first year
you pivoted immediately and gone down the TMC route, but you’ve really developed that. Tell us what’s happened
over the last year. – Absolutely, fifteen months ago we had our first conversations with the corporate travel market and the reaction was so overwhelming that we started to focus
on what capabilities we needed to develop that market. So we added three significant
capabilities since last year. We integrated with all three GDSs, so we can book on our partner’s pseudos and maintain duty of care. We’ve streamlined the
implementation process for TMCs so we can go live
without any development work. We’ve made our product
turnkey for travel managers. Which means as soon as they
want to go live, we go live. – [Michael] So the pivot’s complete. There’s no more pivots to come. What further development then do you need to continue the process? – Right now our focus is on making sure the industry understands who we are and our value proposition. We can save corporations up to 40% on their disruption costs,
which are enormous costs that nobody talks about for
reasons I don’t understand. Flight disruptions increase
the cost of air travel for corporation by 5-15%. These are enormous costs
that travel managers should be focused on. We’re out there telling our stories and helping companies save money. – [Michael] Obviously the
TMCs are helping do that as well for you. – Absolutely. We partner with TMCs so that
we can make the integration totally seamless and
the traveler experience totally seamless for the
employees of the company. As soon as the travel
manager wants to go live, again we turn it on and
we go live with them. – [Michael] Obviously telling people means coming to Phocuswright. There’s another way,
another opportunity for you. Anything else that you’ve
achieved for Phocuswright? Obviously, I think it’s been
very integral to your process. You’ve gone through funding
since we first met you. You pivoted. How important is the
Phocuswright platform for you? – Phocuswright is a place
where everybody comes together. I think anyone who you ask will say that. Pound for pound, there’s
just more people here talking about the important
issues of the industry. We find it’s important to
talk to venture capitalists, talk to investors, talk to TMC partners, talk to players in the industry whether they’re GDSs or
distributors, what have you. It’s just a great place to
see the folks that you know and make deals happen. – [Michael] But of course,
there’s no free lunch. Part of that process is
you have to be on stage and you’re quizzed by the dragons. Did they get it? Were they fair? – The dragons are always fair. Of course they say these are
only the dragon’s opinions. They’re not the opinions of Phocuswright. We know a lot of the
people who are the dragons. We have conversations with
them, particularly the ones who are active in the TMC space. The questions that we get from investors and from partners and from
clients are usually the same ones which are: How does this product work? Is this actually saving me money? When we have the opportunity
to tell our story, people are usually convinced. – [Michael] I see, well best of luck and thanks for your time. – Thank you Michael. (electronic music)

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