IDEM Hospitality has taken the top prize in this year’s WiT Singapore Startup Pitch, powered by Amadeus, after the finals were held earlier this week at Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre.
IDEM Hospitality beat two other finalists – eRoam and Travenues – with its solution to help hotels manage their group business and maximise their revenues, an area presenting unbridled opportunities, given 85% of group business at hotels are still managed manually via spreadsheets.
Travenues pitched its mission to up the ante for airlines in the e-commerce game to compete effectively with OTAs, while eRoam sold on being “a single sign-in marketplace that lets users create complex travel itineraries, combining multiple suppliers and products in seconds”.
When asked what this victory means to IDEM Hospitality, its founder and CEO Matthew Howden said, “Being recognised by some of the most significant leaders in the travel and hospitality industry for doing what we’re passionate about is humbling. The entire team is super excited with this win and provides another level of motivation to continue to push the boundaries of innovation.”
“We’ve attended WiT for the past three years – we love the content, the networking and opportunity to promote IDEM Hospitality to an engaged audience looking for solutions to industry challenges. The WiT platform has helped kickstart other great travel and hospitality startups like Klook, Troovo & Split, so we realised not taking part could be a major disadvantage,” added Howden.
As this year’s champion, IDEM Hospitality won itself a host of prizes, which includes a place in the Phocuswright Innovators 2019 programme and the opportunity to enrol in the SIA Accelerator Program with up to $150,000 development funding. SIA’s Accelerator Program, which also includes winners of its own AppChallenge, is a three-month engagement cycle where SIA Business Units join forces with startups to develop best of class solutions.
IDEM also won an Amadeus mentorship to help grow its business and leverage Amadeus’ reach; and a three-month Hot Desk pass from WeWork to use in any of their co-working offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Along with the other nine semifinalists, IDEM Hospitality also received Amazon Web Services (AWS) service credits and business support for up to one year.
“[The] WiT Innovation Stage culminated in a very close final this week at WiT Singapore. I am personally delighted that Amuse Travel won the People Choice Award for its accessible tour products. This is an important message to our industry about the opportunity to care for travellers with special needs. Amadeus is also looking forward to mentor IDEM Hospitality to address the complexities of event management,” said Sebastien Gibergues, vice president online travel Asia Pacific, Amadeus IT Group.
“This year’s WiT Startup Pitch showcased diverse, innovative solutions from around the region –designed to enhance guest experiences, and remove friction from the world of travel. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is delighted to provide service credits, support, and training to each of the WiT finalists, accelerating their growth and ability to scale through access to low-cost, easy-to-use cloud technology, including the broadest and deepest set of machine learning and artificial intelligence services,” said David Peller, global head, AWS Travel and Hospitality and one of the judges at this year’s competition.
The semi-finalists and eventual finalists were selected by a team of judges including Adrian Currie, Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Booking Holdings; Chetan Kapoor, co-founder & COO, videc; David Peller, Head, Worldwide Business Development, Hospitality, AWS Enterprise and Industry Verticals Business Development, Amazon; Gervin Yang, Vice President, Investments, Open Space; Greg Schulze, Senior Vice President, Commercial Strategy & Services, Expedia; Jerome Thil, Vice President, Digital Innovation, Singapore Airlines Group; Kuo-Yi Lim, Managing Partner, Monk’s Hill Ventures; Louise Daley, Deputy CEO, AccorHotels Asia Pacific; Margaret Feng, Head of Innovation Ctrip; Martin Symes, Head of Ventures, Avios Group; Mizuho Hiraguri, Corporate Development, Recruit Holdings; Ross Veitch, Chief Executive & Co-Founder, Wego; Sebastien Gibergues, Vice President Online Travel Asia Pacific, Amadeus; Yash Sankrityayan, Vice President, Jungle Ventures.
The WiT Startup Pitch is an annual event, open to all travel-related startups, up to five years old. WiT seeks to highlight ground-breaking new ideas and clever, entrepreneurial minds that are pushing the boundaries in travel technology. The WiT Startup Pitch, now in its 11th year, received strong interest, drawing entries from around the world, serving different segments of the industry. Last year’s WiT Singapore Startup of the Year was Split, a service that allows travellers to split their payments. It joined an illustrious list of past winners that include Klook, MyRealTrip and Relux among others.