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Startups fight for innovation glory at Phocuswright Europe’s ‘Battleground’

Sara Pavan

Investment Manager, Amadeus Ventures

It was a no holds barred clash of innovative ideas at Phocuswright Europe’s ‘Battleground’, sponsored by Amadeus. Designed for early-stage startups, the competition allowed innovators to demonstrate their ideas to a ‘Shark Tank’ panel of “sometimes ruthless and uncensored judges”. I was pleased to be one of those judges this year.

Startups fight for innovation glory at Phocuswright Europe’s ‘Battleground’

Each ‘Battleground’ contestant had 10 minutes to demonstrate their innovations in front of a live audience. The spoils for the victor included being crowned as the European Travel Innovator of the Year and an invitation to demonstrate their idea at The Phocuswright Conference taking place November 8, 2017 in Florida.

Participants at this lively competition were many of the same target companies that we are aiming to reach with Amadeus Ventures. This includes early stage startups providing innovative technology that can help us complement our existing portfolio of solutions, enrich our value proposition to customers, and help us explore white spaces where we are not yet present.

It seemed that many of the start-ups were looking at ways to achieve seamless travel or technology that pushes intelligent recommendations by following their user’s movements and behaviours.

I liked Axon Vibe because their vision (contextualized marketing and communication through smart location and user data analytics) is a great example of seamless travel that we hope to reach one day. I do believe that users will be willing to share their own data if this is for the purpose of benefiting their own experience, for example, receiving targeted recommendations based on their locations and habits.

When evaluating the participants, as a 'Dragon' - a judge -I had to look at things such as scalability, their business model (B2B OR B2C), their answers to a real problem, the pitch and the team.

Considering our expertise and reach in travel, we are well positioned to understand the real value of these innovative ideas. We’re also ready to help these startups grow, giving them access to our network of experts and customers, and ultimately funding.

Phocuswright is very valuable for us, as these events consistently unveil pioneering ideas. They also give us the opportunity to get in contact with companies that we can be sure will have a huge impact on the travel landscape in the future.

This is the seventh year that Amadeus Ventures has been asked to participate to Phocuswright as ‘Dragon’. It was an honour for me to be selected to sit side by side with some of the industry’s most informed insiders. I had a great time and I’m confident the ‘Battleground’ winners will do an excellent job at the Phocuswright Summit later this year.


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