• Kurt Schmidt

lessons from entrepreneurs on starting your own business, Part 9

Use data to connect the dots

Jeff Katz, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Journera

I don’t know how to describe it other than something was gnawing at me. After a long career in travel as an executive at American Airlines, president of SABRE, CEO of Swissair and an incredible experience as founding CEO of Orbitz Worldwide, it was clear that there was a new problem that needed to be solved and I had to be involved in it.

I saw that the travel industry was still as compartmentalized as ever. Airlines were concerned with flying travellers to a destination. Hotels were concerned with them only once they walked through the lobby door. Ground transportation companies - rail, bus, rental cars and ride sharing - all lived in their own world too.

If I had an initial insight, it was this: travelers are on a journey - all the pieces need to fit together, and no company or technology really makes that happen for them today. I saw that the solution to make seamless travel happen was in the data underlying all those pieces of a journey, knitted together using tools made possible by the Cloud, machine learning and modern cryptographic security tools.

These insights drew me back to the travel industry like a magnet. It started with conversations with the CEOs of three of the world’s largest airlines and several of the CEOs of the world’s leading lodging companies. They sponsored some fundamental research and even a seed investment for the start of a business. I assembled a team of the best and brightest data scientists, developers, and commercial operators I knew. We built a data platform that could weave together all the travel providers that make up the traveler’s journey – from the car to the airport, the parking, the flight, the rental car, the hotel and beyond. Lo and behold, we found that our approach works! And it can scale globally for millions of travelers, thousands of brands and hundreds of millions of journeys.

Read more at ALL ARK LLC

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