THE UK’S FASTEST GROWING TRAVEL APP AND L MARKS ALUM, LUCKYTRIP, IS CROWDFUNDING
L Marks alum LuckyTrip met its crowdfunding target in just two hours when it launched a campaign on Crowdcube last week. It took only two days for the startup to hit 200% of its target. With another 27 days to go, we are very excited to see where the campaign will end up!
LuckyTrip simplify planning holidays to a trip in one tap. During the 10-week Hangar 51 accelerator programme, which L Marks ran in partnership with International Airlines Group , everyone was consistently impressed with the quality of the team’s work and the fast pace of progress.
Sam Bird, Investment Associate at L Marks, commented:
They came into Hangar 51 strong, set high expectations, and hit all their milestones. Whilst the management team demonstrated their technical capabilities throughout, what most impressed me was their passion for what they do, it was great to see such a committed team shine within the programme.
We reached out to Kirk Flitton, LuckyTrip’s Chief Commercial Officer, to find out more about how the team got started with the project, what’s driving the startup’s tremendous success and where they’re heading next.
There is a good story behind how you got started. Can you tell us how LuckyTrip began?
Brothers Tiff and Alex Burns launched LuckyTrip three years ago from the kitchen table of their Hackney flat. Tiff was working as a Management Consultant and Alex was in the music industry. They were looking for a way to find and book trips to the hidden corners of the world – all in one tap.
To solve this problem, they went ahead and put together a website which simply contained a sign-up form and some instructions. Within a week, they had thousands of registrations and decided to quit their jobs and focus on LuckyTrip. They launched their prototype at the end of 2015 and it was immediately featured on the front page of the App Store, driving thousands of additional downloads.
The guys have moved quickly since then and have now built a strong management team, which I’m part of. I met the guys on the Founders Factory Accelerator Programme when I was running another travel startup and later joined the team as CCO. Tamer Q’Taish was brought in as our CTO and Jess Sweetman as Content Lead. The team has now grown to a team of 17, building on our great traction here in the UK.
What is the product today and how is it different to what is already on the market?
LuckyTrip makes booking your perfect holiday as easy as booking an Uber. You set your budget and other holiday preferences, such as ‘Adventure’, ‘Night Owl’, ‘Foodie’, ‘Beach’- tap the ‘Lucky’ button and instantly receive a personalised trip to an amazing destination with the cheapest flights, handpicked accommodations and unique experiences.
Whilst traditional travel agents ask the question ‘Where do you want to go?’, LuckyTrip asks ‘How much do you want to spend?’. We prefer not to show you a trip to Paris where you would stay in a Hilton and go up the Eiffel Tower. We want to show you a trip to Bucharest, have you stay in a gypsy wagon and attend an underground festival. LuckyTrip is all about inspiring you to travel to new and unique places – think pink lagoons, secret beaches and haunted Romanian forests.
Our AI recommendation engine leverages partner API inventories to curate amazing trips instantly. We’ve spent 1000+ hours in user feedback sessions to craft the perfect travel search experience on mobile, specifically targeting the millennial generation.
How did getting onto the Hangar 51 programme influence your growth?
Hangar 51 was hugely successful for us, particularly because it gave us valuable facetime with key stakeholders and decision makers at IAG.
We have built a one-tap travel inspiration app for B2C and a B2B platform for partner integration. We believe that airlines and online travel agents are missing a key part of the customer booking journey – inspiration. At LuckyTrip, we combine our inventory with our proven content and award-winning technology to provide amazing travel experiences which increase in-app engagement and generate bookings.
LuckyTrip can be integrated into any third-party platform with just a few lines of code. We went live with our first airline – EasyJet – in May last year and, with over 250,000 users engaging with the feature monthly, it has been a huge success.
As a finalist on the Hangar 51 programme, we were selected to help IAG operating companies provide a mobile first solution to inspire users to book trips through their own channels rather than visiting a competitor or an online travel agent.
What was the outcome of the lab and how have things evolved since?
Following our participation in the Hangar 51 programme, we now have a commercial agreement in place with BA Holidays. We are also in discussions with Avios and Iberia. During the programme, we began to raise capital for our previous round of funding. We successfully closed that round and now decided to give our users the chance to own part of LuckyTrip through a crowdfunding campaign, which has just gone live. You can check out our profile at https://www.crowdcube.com/luckytrip.
Can you briefly define your market and how big the opportunity is?
Millennials are the driving force behind the £2.3tn travel industry and spend more on travel than any other generation. They expect unique instagrammable experiences and instant gratification – and they want it all on mobile. That is exactly what LuckyTrip offers. It is expected that over half of all travel bookings will be made on mobile by 2021, so we feel we are in a great place to scale over the coming years.
What is going to make LuckyTrip huge?
I think timing is key. We live in a world where instant gratification is the norm. I can get food in one tap, a date in a swipe… why should travel be any different? With LuckyTrip in the hands of millions of people, we have now put our brand stamp on the concept of tapping a button and seeing a complete trip.
We also have an amazing team of talented travel fanatics who are passionate about building the leading travel brand for our generation.
What are the major milestones you want to achieve with the Crowdfunding round?
Of course, the capital is welcomed, but the main reason we are raising through CrowdCube is to acquire a pool of investors/fans who love the product and can become mini brand ambassadors, championing the brand to friends and colleagues in the coming months and years.
LuckyTrip aims to be the no.1 travel brand for the millennial generation – this is the Founders’ top priority. Given the strategic value LuckyTrip will be generating for global players, an acquisition is also a possibility. The M&A market for travel is highly active – one offer has already been received.
If you are on the lookout for your next investment, there is still time to back LuckyTrip on Crowdcube