22. April 2013–
Travel comparison service Waymate today launched its mobile app and website. The Berlin-based startup is focusing on the highly lucrative – and highly complex – transport-booking market, and has its sights set on being the only app you need to plan, compare and book a trip door-to-door.
Founded in December 2010 by Maxim Nohroudi and Dr Tom Kirschbaum, Waymate lets users compare prices, travel times and the comfort of different transport options on a simple timeline.
Users can book on the site and are not taken to a third-party platform (unlike most competitors) – though the iOS app doesn't let users book directly through the app yet. Right now, they are emailed a link with their trip and then have to book on Waymate’s website.
So far, only train, air and car travel options are available, though the team promises to include long-distance buses in the near future. For local, short-distance travel, Waymate includes taxis and car sharing services such as Car2Go and DriveNow as well. At the moment, users can only book long-distance travel when the flights originate in Europe and local transport connections are only available within Germany.
On the launch, Nohroudi said: “Now the task is to expand the app and the website with thrilling new features – especially in social networking – and to internationalise. In short, we want travel planning to be completely simple and joyful."
While Waymate is working in a market with huge potential, which so far no-one has managed to really crack, the startup is still facing hiccups during its launch phase. Testing the website out today, we ran into a few problems – trying to book a trip from Berlin to Stockholm only got us the message that "no routes could be found at the moment". A search to Munich came up with train options but provided no alternatives via flight.
Problems aside, Waymate's plan is admirably ambitious: In order for it to be successful, they must negotiate with multiple transport services and carriers, along with governments to gain access to local transport information. Waymate also faces competition from fellow Berlin startup GoEuro, which recently announced a €4m seed funding round.
For related stories, check out
Online travel planner GoEuro announces $4m seed funding from Battery Ventures and Hasso Plattner
Startup of the Week – Waymate, the “travel agency 3.0″
My Top 5 Startups for 2013 – Michelle Kuepper, VentureVillage Staff Writer