STARTUP STAGE: Vervotech enables travel businesses to scale rapidly for the digital era


Vervotech

Vervotech is a software company that helps travel businesses become more efficient with data-driven product engineering. Its next-gen tools include NEXUS, which offers a unified API to help travel agencies access inventory across all suppliers, and UNICA, an artificial intelligence hotel mapping platform.

Since launching in October 2018, the company has grown to 23 employees and has secured a partnership with Akbar Travels, India’s largest travel conglomerate.

Describe both the business and technology aspects of your startup.

The idea of Vervotech is to enable travel businesses to go all out in this digital era. 

When we talk about the digital age, it is more than just an online presence. Travel businesses need more than just a website to tell their customers, “Hey look, here we are, this is our website.” 

In addition to a fully functional web presence,
they need seamless technology that helps them convert their probable customers into a revenue-generating model, be it with constant updating of hotel content or accurate mapping. 

Vervotech aspires to solve problems with an accurate vision amped
with our expertise:

1. We provide faster solutions to complex problem in this rapidly changing digital era 

2. Enable data-driven product engineering that will push travel agencies to move faster

3. We strive to do these two with our
auto-learning products by leveraging artificial intelligence. Our smart products will make the right decision for our customers

Company

Vervotech Solutions Private Limited

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What inspired you to create this company?

We are a group of travel technology experts, and we wouldn’t be bragging if we say that travel tech is our DNA. 

While there is already ample technology available enabling travel businesses in the market, we discovered a critical insight that
travel agency owners are looking for a solution that will enable them to validate fresh ideas at a rapid pace, leveraging cutting-edge technology and driving meaningful business insights – all while using data to drive growth. 

With this
million-dollar insight, we set sail. Armed with a decade of experience in the industry and a clear vision to help travel agencies to scale up their businesses, we designed our offerings. 

We built technology that leveraged artificial intelligence
and put data to the core of decision making, which is smart and is hyper-focused on business growth.

Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis of the company.

Strength: Rich experience of team in travel technology and access to travel agency network due to working in same domain for a decade.

Weakness: As a bootstrap startup, the sales cycle is longer because it takes time
to win the confidence of large travel agencies.

Opportunity: The $12 billion travel technology industry is set to grow while markets are in different stages of the offline to online journey.

Threat: We do
see lot of action items and tweaks needed in the execution plan, but we’re not sure of any threats yet. 

What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?

Currently, the travel industry has been complaining about the following pain points:

1. Slow inventory speed: Low speed is a turn-off and often the main reason why customers are frustrated.

2. Duplicate content: Duplicate content can make travel
agencies feel handicapped, and it happens due to the lack of a prolific algorithm.

3. Lack of accurate content: Sometimes, the consumers face a scarcity of real-time content for their customers to consume.

4. Not enough options to choose from: Travel agencies are often challenged when it comes to providing ample opportunities for currency and language to their customers.

5. Wrong mapping: Badly mapped hotel content has been costing travel agencies millions of dollars.

6. Duplication of hotel inventories across suppliers: This is also a common problem faced by online travel agencies that has been seldom addressed.

7.
Lack of easy-to-use interface and APIs: A seamless interface will make your job more accessible, such as configuring supplier credentials, uploading content files, pinpointing duplicates, mapping hotel content, etc.

So you’ve got the product, now how will you get lots of customers?

We do have some significant clients whose businesses have transformed with our products.

One of them has even expanded their offerings using our product, NEXUS. The company needed a platform to accelerate bookings and optimize their commercial
relationships with travel partners such as EAN, Hotelbeds, Priceline, Destinations of the World and OYO.

Tell us what process you’ve gone through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.

Hotel mapping and room mapping are needs of every travel agency – from big OTAs such as Expedia to localized destination management companies. 

Mapping improves conversions and maximizes profits, so in the stage of evolution, the product we offer
enables travel agencies to serve customers better with additional revenue opportunities. 

There are at least 10,000 travel agencies that need a mapping solution that is accurate and covers all inventory.  

How and when will you make money?

With 14 customers, including leading travel agencies from North America, South America, India and the Middle East, we are already profitable. 

We have plans to invest all the profits back in the business to ensure we are growing faster. We plan
to sign up the first 100 customers by March 2021, and we are already progressing by exhibiting in conferences such as Phocuswright.

What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the founding team, and why do you have what it takes to succeed with this business?

Our founders come with a rich background in travel technology and experience of building and transforming travel agencies with revenue ranging from few million dollars up to $50 billion. 

Sanjay Ghare, the CEO of Vervotech, has spent more than
a decade in travel technology, and he has been driving energy and vision into this startup since inception. 

The senior management team has been building travel products most of their careers. The core marketing and sales team has seen the evolution
of the travel business for over two decades.

With extensive knowledge and insights, we are incredibly confident that we have what it takes to be successful in this business.

What’s been the most difficult part of founding the business so far?

I would not say difficult, but something which took more energy than we imagined is attracting talent.

As a bootstrap startup, attracting the best has been a time-consuming – but interesting – experience for us. 

Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making an impact – so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?

I think with our experience in travel technology, two things are important to understand in the travel space. 

First, every market is in a different stage of online transformation, so needs are different in each market. 

Second, although
core needs are the same, there is the localization of products needed to ensure that product fits the market. 

This is the reason most of the travel technology companies are successful in different markets but very few, or none, have a global
impact.

With our customer-first approach, we are focusing on opening to the bigger global market of travel technology.

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