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Vayant could one day be absorbed into Lufthansa, but until that happens it would have to convince its other airline partners that it isn’t in Lufthansa’s pocket.
Google touted airfare-search vendor Vayant Travel Technologies in 2010 as a competitor to ITA Software when Google was trying to convince antitrust regulators that there were plenty of noteworthy rivals to ITA Software in the marketplace.
Founded in 2007, Sofia, Bulgaria-based Vayant hasn’t exactly set the airfare-tech world on fire in the interim, but today came word that Deutsche Lufthansa, thought to be Vayant’s largest customer, has become a Vayant investor and strategic partner.
Lufthansa joins existing Vayant investors Neveq and Cape Capital and, with the Lufthansa investment, Christian Tillmans, the airline’s vice president of global sales and key account management, joins the Vayant board.
Vayant declied to comment beyond its press release on the nature of the Lufthansa investment or Vayant’s total funding.
“We are seeing a very positive reaction and traction from the market to our product ecosystem and the opportunities they present for airlines and travel companies,” Vayant CEO Eric Dumas states in its announcement. “We are now looking forward to taking Vayant a step forward and we are glad to welcome Deutsche Lufthansa AG as a new shareholder of Vayant.”
On April 2, 2013, Vayant announced a deal with Lufthansa — Vayant’s “most significant client acquisition” since 2012, it said — to provide the airline with a “custom-cache solution” that enhances the carrier’s distribution of its flights to tour operators in Europe for the creation of vacation packages.
The issue for Vayant now will be how the Lufthansa investment will impact Vayant’s business relationships with other airline partners, including Austrian Airlines, Air Europa, Swiss and Air Baltic.
Vayant argues that the Lufthansa investment won’t alter Vayant’s stance as an independent provider of airfare-tech solutions, but its partners might need some reassurance.