The “Tinder for travel companions.” The “Airbnb of boats.” If you’re an avid traveler, you might have an idea that seems like the next great startup. The problem is, you might not be the first person to have thought of it.
The travel startup space is crowded, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for innovation—look at Uber or Airbnb. But before you start planning your own game-changing business, you have to do your homework. A little research can go a long way to see what the competitive landscape looks like, and who’s working on similar products. Here are four sites to get your feet wet in the travel startup world:
A startup itself, Skift has grown to become one of the travel industry’s richest source of news and data. The site covers everything from hospitality trends to destination updates to startups.
A good place to start is Skift’s Daily Travel Startup Watch. Every day, they list a selection of new travel startups from AngelList. Dig a little deeper on the site, and you’ll find stories about startup trends, like their post on five new startups that turn locals into tour guides. These articles are a good way to see what areas and topics are popular in the travel startup world.
Another travel industry news source, Tnooz, focuses on travel and technology. Its startup coverage includes a series called “Startup Pitch,” where the editors interview founders about their new travel products and services. Featured businesses include everything from Spain’s HundredRooms rental site to scuba booking site Diviac.
After the interviews, Tnooz assesses each of the businesses. This can be a good place to learn about competitors and get a sense of the market. Like Skift, Tnooz publishes a daily newsletter.
Once you’ve done some digging around the trends and features on Skift and Tnooz, hop over to AngelList, a directory for startups. This is where Skift pulls its Daily Travel Startup Watch listings. Look around, and you’ll find a much deeper breadth of information about these new companies.
You can browse by startups tagged “travel” to see everything from the purpose of the business to the number of employees to how much funding it has raised. What happens if you come across one that resembles your idea? AngelList also indicates which companies are hiring.
Like AngelList, CrunchBase is a database of companies—both established and new. You can hone in on types of travel companies: online travel, social travel, or adventure travel, to name a few. Or you can search for keywords related to your business idea.
CrunchBase profiles go deep: you’ll see LinkedIn-style info about where company employees worked, news and photos associated with the company, and social media activity. You can also see which companies are trending, and recent investments—such as the $20 million in funding for JetSmarter, a private air travel startup aiming to be “the Uber of the skies.”