New crop of startups reflects maturity of Asia’s travel market

Up to 10 travel companies will vie for the WiT Startup of the Year 2019 on October 14 following the completion of the first judging round of travel’s largest startup competition, powered by Amadeus.

The winner of the competition, run as part of the WiT Singapore 2019 conference, stands to walk away with a host of prizes supported by travel brands such as Amadeus, Singapore Airlines, Amazon Web Services and Phocuswright.

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As the online market in Asia grows up, we see startups shadowing that maturation by digging deeper and paying more attention to the creation of niche segments. This year, our more than 40 entries reflect that. We are eager to see how these shortlisted candidates will lead the way in this next phase of growth,” said Yeoh Siew Hoon, founder and managing director of WiT.

Added Sebastien Gibergues, vice president, Online Travel Asia Pacific at Amadeus IT Group, which is powering the competition, said, “Destination services are definitely still a hot topic in 2019 for travel startups, but we also see new technology emerging to support travellers on the road, from new payment platforms to intelligent travel assistants. It is also good to see a few startups focusing on sustainable travel, which is a topic dear to Amadeus. I definitely look forward to the semi-finals during WiT Singapore 2019 in a few weeks.”

Singapore Airlines has also stepped in to support this year’s event which attracted more than 40 entries from 16 countries. Among other prizes, the winner will be offered an opportunity to enrol in the SIA Accelerator Program with up to $150,000 development funding. SIA’s Accelerator Program, which also includes winners of its own AppChallenge, is a three-month engagement cycle where SIA Business Units join forces with startups to develop best of class solutions.

“WiT has a long history and well-established team of experts in the field of travel. They curate great content and have the capacity to scout and attract the best innovative startups in the market. I’m very excited and honoured to join the jury panel this year and I’m prepared to meet a few gems,” said Jerome Thil, vice president of digital innovation, Singapore Airlines Group.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, is also collaborating with WiT for the second year running in its Startup Pitch 2019. Each of the 10 WIT Startup Pitch semifinalists will receive AWS service credits and business support for up to one year.

AWS provides startups with the low cost, easy to use infrastructure needed to scale and grow. The AWS Activate program provides startups with the resources they need to quickly get started on AWS – including credits, training, and support.

This year’s grand winner will also be feted with a host of supporting prizes that include:

  • A place in the Phocuswright Innovators 2019 programme
  • Amadeus mentorship to help grow its business and leverage Amadeus’ reach
  • A three-month Hot Desk pass from WeWork to use in any of their co-working offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The WiT Startup Pitch is an annual event, open to all travel-related startups, up to five years old. WiT seeks to highlight ground-breaking new ideas and clever, entrepreneurial minds that are pushing the boundaries in travel technology. The WiT Startup Pitch, now in its 11th year, received strong interest, drawing entries from around the world, serving different segments of the industry.

The shortlisted candidates for the WiT Singapore 2019 Startup Pitch are:

  • Amuse Travel
  • Deyor Camps
  • eRoam
  • IDEM Hospitality
  • LuggAgent
  • Portier
  • RoadTravel
  • RoomsXpert
  • Trabble
  • Trav-DS

Last year’s WiT Singapore Startup of the Year was Split, a service that allows travellers to split their payments. It joined an illustrious list of past winners that include Klook, MyRealTrip and Relux among others.

The 10 semi-finalists will make their live pitch to an international panel of mentors at the WiT Singapore Innovation Stage in Singapore on October 14. Three will then move on to the Grand Finals and pitch on the WiT Singapore Main Stage conference on October 16.

For tickets to WiT Singapore, click here.

 

About WiT

WiT Singapore is Asia’s leading online travel conference focused on travel technology, distribution and marketing. The event will be held on 14-16 October 2019 and the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre.

WiT has won awards including Most Innovative Marketing Initiative and Trade Conference Of The Year and in 2014, its founder Yeoh Siew Hoon was recognised as Tourism Entrepreneur of The Year in Singapore.

Every year, WiT sees over 500 travel industry delegates in attendance from leading companies such as: Expedia, Ctrip, Google, Facebook, Airbnb, Grab, Paytm, Amadeus, Travelport, and many more.

Over the past 14 years, WIT Conferences have been organised and held in multiple cities around the world, including: Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Amsterdam, Sydney, Bali, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, Dubai & Taipei.

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