Digital Booking Sites

SkiftSeedlings: Five early-stage startups from across the travel spectrum

@SamShankman

Apr 01, 2013 9:56 am

Foli

Business can provide customers with magazines on their iPads for free via Foli. Foli


This week’s collections of SkiftSeedlings don’t fall neatly into one category. They look at the media we consume during our travels, how we get from A to B, and how we search for the perfect boutique hotel.

The diversity of startups emerging within the travel industry highlights how many moving parts there are in each of our travel experiences, and how much innovation is still to come in the sector.

For all of our SkiftSeedlings collection, check out our archives here.

Foli SkiftSeedlings

Foli is a free iOS app that lets users read the interactive iPad version of popular magazines (Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair) while in airport waiting areas in San Francisco. The content is no longer available once they board the plane. Consumers will never be charged for the service, but will be able to pay to save articles to read after they’ve left the Foli Spot.

SkiftTake: As the digital equivalent of browsing magazines in the airport convenience store, Foli could quickly become a flyer favorite; however, user acquisition is limited by the app’s iPad-only format. A smartphone reader may be developed as the service grows.

Rambugo SkiftSeedlings

Rambugo is an online searching and booking platform for charter flights, or air taxis. The alpha version of the site is currently only available for flights within California. A one-way flight from San Francisco to San Diego for an April weekend would cost about $4,100 for 4 people.

SkiftTake: Air taxis might be faster than driving, but the platform draws from a very small group of travelers that would prefer paying approximately $2,000 a head to booking a business class ticket, or gaming one of several upcoming private flight-sharing startups.

Aeropods SkiftSeedlings

Aeropods are airport pod hotels, simply described as standalone private spaces for crowded areas. Aeropods’ value proposition is two-fold: It is marketing itself to airports as viable source of revenue for previously unused space and as service to rejuvenate flyers. The hotel group is due to commercially launch in May 2013, according to its AngelList profile.

SkiftTake: The airport pod hotel is becoming a popular and common site at airports throughout Europe and Asia, but they’re yet to become a hit in the U.S. The Dublin-based company would find a wide open market that’s still for the taking across the pond from its HQ.

Tel Aviv Boutique Hotels

Tel Aviv Boutique Hotels launched in January 2013 to organize and represent a growing niche of boutique hotels in Israel’s most metropolitan city. The site organizes and describes the 20+ options as well as suggests activities in line with the boutique travel experience. All bookings are done through the Asian subsidiary of Priceline, Agoda.

SkiftTake: Israel is among the only countries in that region where real boutiques have taken off. This new website is easier to search through than sifting through the much larger selection on a site like TripAdvisor, but its user base is relatively small.

Plushkies

Plushkies are stuffed toys in the shapes of countries from around the world. Their purpose is make to children curious and accepting of other cultures and instill them with the travel bug at a young age. Each toy comes with a name, a story, and a sticker to be added in the Plushkies passport.

SkiftTake: This is not your usual travel startup, but Plushkies’ goal to awaken curiosity and foster understanding in kids about the world is as important to the future of travel as any new app.

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