IAG's latest Hangar 51 global start-up accelerator programme concluded on 29 January with its Demo Day in Barcelona, where seven start-ups presented their achievements in front of an audience of 100 people. During the 10-week programme, each start-up worked closely with mentors and experts in Barcelona and Madrid at Iberia, Iberia Express and Vueling to bring their ideas to a reality. Here are the key achievements from each startup:
Airstripe is a crowdsourcing social platform that allows passengers to create, customise and share flights with other like-minded passengers. Airstripe has been working closely with airline experts from Iberia Express to develop and transform their idea into a tangible product. Their biggest achievement was the creation of a crowd-funded, fully customised flight between Madrid and Lanzarote.
Aplazame is an instant credit, risk-free solution for online and offline purchases which offers customers a flexible payment method through financing. As an early-stage startup, Aplazame has used the Hangar 51 experience to acquire guidance and industry knowledge from the mentors at Iberia, which has allowed them to re-shape their offering to better serve customer needs.
Destygo is a customer service chatbot that allows airlines, airports and companies to assist their travellers in real time. Destygo worked with Iberia and Vueling testing flight info, check-in and natural language FAQs within Facebook messenger, airline apps and websites. For Destygo, the highlight of the programme has been building an ambitious project with Spain's leading airlines.
Inflight VR is the world's first Virtual Reality (VR) product for on-board entertainment. The product is controlled by cabin crew and allows the attention and safety of passengers to be managed effectively. Inflight VR worked with Iberia to offer inflight VR experiences including movies, gaming and in-destination content on a return flight from Madrid - Tel Aviv.
Migacore is a data science startup which focuses on bringing contextual demand forecasting to dramatically improve yields and revenue for travel. Hangar 51 has allowed Migacore to refine and build more accuracy into their forecasting models for airlines. The greatest achievement was delivering a substantial number of wins to enhance Vueling's internal revenue management systems.
SeatAssignMate (SAM) is the next generation, email-based merchandising solution for airlines. SAM contradicts the traditional static (one-way communication) email, by transforming email content to be interactive, dynamic and real-time allowing for a much more immersive experience. Travelers have the ability to select seats (free/paid seats), purchase other ancillary services and generate a boarding pass (QR code), directly within their email with a few simple clicks. Hangar 51 enabled SAM to implement their interactive email features with Iberia and Vueling. The combination of knowledge and close collaborative efforts between airline industry experts and interactive email specialists, meant that results were achieved quickly and effectively.
Volantio's platform enables airlines to optimize revenue and capacity after customers book, while leading to a significantly improved customer experience. The Hangar 51 programme has been transformative for Volantio, allowing them to launch the product in the European market in just 27 business days. In addition, they ran five weeks of tests to understand how to create flexible offers and tailor customer experiences which has laid the groundwork for a fully automated long-term solution.
Willie Walsh, IAG's chief executive, told guests at Demo Day: "The presentations have been really impressive and what particularly struck me was the resilience and enthusiasm which the start-ups have shown from working with us in such a short space of time."
The next stage for Hangar 51 is to decide how IAG will continue working with the seven start-ups, including possible investment opportunities.