From starting digital businesses to leading a startup that aspires to be the next travel unicorn – 04/22/2022

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From starting digital businesses to leading a startup that aspires to be the next travel unicorn - 04/22/2022

The industry of travels is gradually recovering the momentum it had prior to the pandemic. This avidity of consumers, also based on the search for pleasurable experiences, is an enormous growth opportunity for companies in the sector.

That path goes viaxlaba Uruguayan startup that developed its own application aimed at Travel agencies that seek to optimize the management of group trips (students, sports teams), characterized by greater requirements in infrastructure and logistics. The tool seeks to order and simplify aspects of management for which “an Excel spreadsheet or a blackboard” has traditionally been used, he said. Justin Grasidethe new CEO of Viaxlab, who has been linked to the world of digital business for 10 years.

The application serves as a direct communication and information channel between the agency, its passengers, coordinators and the travelers’ families (in the case of student outings, it allows detailed monitoring of each stage of the trip).

These functionalities allow agencies to gain peace of mind by having the traceability of each trip, avoiding intermediary inefficiencies and even working faster to resolve unforeseen events that affect the schedule of activities. “This may seem small, but if you multiply by groups of 1,000 students, it is thousands of dollars. Optimizing these complex logistical variables is where the value of Viaxlab lies,” explained Graside.

Also through the app, tourists and coordinators have centralized access to all travel information (medical record, itinerary, access codes to activities).

The goal is “to offer a better experience to the traveler,” said Graside, who also serves as a partner in the startup.

Since its launch a year ago, some 10,000 passengers have already used the app. Of the total, some 2,000 were Uruguayan clients, the rest foreigners.

The board brings together prominent figures from the entrepreneurial field: Martin Barbot Y Javier Rocha (co-founders of fun tour) -who had developed an initial version of the tool and contribute their knowledge of the tourism industry-, Andres Cerisola Y Nelson Mendiburu (Both former Ferrere) -who add their seniority to the project- and the technological entrepreneurs Rodrigo Capdeville Y Sebastian Galli (from startups Alan and Nerv).

Since its launch a year ago, some 10,000 passengers have already used the app. Of the total, some 2,000 were Uruguayan clients, the rest foreigners.

In fact, the great goal of the company is to scale its operations in the region: today Viaxlab works with agencies in Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Chile and Argentina, in addition to Uruguay, while it plans to reach Peru and Ecuador. “For the first half of this year the idea is to close one client per country in Latin America,” revealed Graside.

The CEO sees in the tool “a global potential” and an opportunity to further digitize the industry. The experience in Latin America, where more inefficiencies are observed in group travel, will serve to accumulate know-how and take the app to other markets and thereby expand the business.

Justin Graside, CEO of Viaxlab, together with the startup team.  Photo: Leonardo Mainé.
Justin Graside, CEO of Viaxlab, together with the startup team. Photo: Leonardo Mainé.

“We want to be one of the next travel unicorns,” Graside announced, recalling that dLocal It has already achieved that milestone in the finance sector from Uruguay. “Really, the ceiling is still far away, because they are group trips in Latin America and nothing prevents us from going to Europe and Asia,” he projected.

In the short term, the startup finds an ideal scenario to grow, hand in hand with a reactivation of travel. “We hope that, if the coronavirus situation continues, the sector can reach its pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year or the beginning of 2023. That is as long as there is no black swan,” Graside closed.

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