Startup Competition Guide


Startup competitions seeking travel technology companies

They include EyeforTravel’s Start-Up Awards and Future of Travel Summit Pitch Competition

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
January 12, 2018
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If you're a startup seeking opportunities to get funded, educated or connected, startup competitions are a great resource.

Vator has been holding its own competitions, using VatorX, to find and filter for the best startups. We've had some very successful and notable winners in the past that have gone on to raise big funding rounds including Thumbtack, DogVacay, Pokitdok, Grovo, Udemy and Apartment List, to name a few.

Anyone can list their program as VatorX is one of the most comprehensive listing guides to startup competitions, challenges, accelerators and programs. Click here to list your program!

As part of our weekly series, we'll look at top competitions with big cash prizes, as well as competitions that have teed up the most promising startups, to finding popular startup competitions you need to know about. 

Here are some of the startup competitions that are focused on the travel technology space:


Description: "North America’s only travel conference that offers not just the big picture, but also a deep-dive into the day-to-day challenges facing you right now"


The awards winner will receive:

  • An exclusive interview on as well as continued featured contributions
  • The opportunity to present and speak at the North America 2018 Summit
  • Access to EyeforTravel's content library which includes access to thousands of travel brand cutting edge case studies, videos and reports
  • EyeforTravel has 80,000 contacts worldwide in the global online travel industry and will work to support the winner through their growth and development
  • Heavily discounted passes to future EyeforTravel events worldwide
  • We don't promise investment; however, we have gathered together the right people at the event (including investors) to help your brand succeed.

Previous winners: Splitty, Dazzle

Travel Tech Conference Russia

Description: "Travelabs (Czech Republic) and HQ Agency (Russia) present 2nd international conference Travel Tech Conference Russia - the perfect event to discuss latest IT trends in travel segment. Travel Tech Conference Russia is a unique opportunity to get connected with travel professionals from various industry verticals. Event participants will see presentations of latest developments in travel technology made by founders of travel startups participating in pitch competition. After that, we will discuss global and local technology trends, will discuss travel startups and venture financing and internet technology opportunities for hoteliers and airlines."

Prize: Phocuswright will provide the winning startup opportunity to present their innovation on stage at Phocuswright Europe Battleground in Amsterdam on May 15-17, 2018 (prize worth €3500)

Previous winners: Booklyng


Description: "The Future of Travel Summit, is the first ever event in Miami to bring together start-ups developing disruptive technologies, angel investors, and established global travel brands. If you are a start-up that develops technology for the travel industry, this event not only gives you the opportunity to present your product to investors and travel industry leaders, but also offers the possibility to have one-to-one meetings with them."

Prize: Winners of the competition will receive the opportunity to pitch at SeaTrade, an event for the cruise industry, as well as a resource bundle of goods and services to help them scale.

Previous winners: None yet



Description: "The conference for travel startups and developers."

Prize: Prizes from partners include a pitch spot at Phocuswright Battleground: The Americas and a ticket to The Phocuswright Conference ($4,199 value)

Previous winners: Beyond Pricing, Hello Scout


Description: "Launch provides established companies that are ready to unveil a groundbreaking innovation with a spot in the limelight and a chance to wow the travel industry's most savvy and engaged audience during The Phocuswright Conference."

Prize: All contestants of Launch receive:

  • Two registrations to The Phocuswright Conference (value US$4,199 each)
  • Ten minutes on stage during Launch
  • Video recording of on-stage demonstration
  • Innovator Showcase kiosk during The Phocuswright Conference
  • Access to Phocuswright's Innovation Edition Research Subscription
  • URL and logo on the Phocuswright Conference website
  • URL and logo on the Phocuswright Conference mobile app
  • Company profile in the innovator booklet
  • Inclusion in all program schedules
  • Coordinated social media campaigns
  • Demonstration streamed live
  • Pre-event, on-site and post-event conference promotion
  • Membership to an elite alumni group

Previous winners: Bla Bla Car



Description: "The Phocuswright Conference attendees come prepared to discover the next market-changing innovations, seeking fresh ideas, new partners and investment opportunities. The global innovators who take the stage represent the best of the best, and the event's demonstrations deliver an attendee experience like no other."

Prize: All Summit contestants receive:

  • One registration to The Phocuswright Conference (value US$4,199)
  • Ten minutes on stage during Summit
  • Pre-conference consultation with Phocuswright analyst experts
  • URL and logo on the Phocuswright Conference website
  • URL and logo on the Phocuswright Conference mobile app
  • Company profile in the innovator booklet
  • Inclusion in all program schedules
  • Pre-event, on-site and post-event conference promotion
  • Coordinated social media campaigns

Previous winners: Mobacar


Description: "For the first time, Phocuswright is hosting Battleground as a standalone event. Battleground: The Americas will feature the most innovative early-stage travel startups from North, Central and South America."

Prize: The top two companies will move on to present at Summit during The Phocuswright Conference among 1,800 of the most influential leaders in travel.

Previous winners: Waylo, Redeam



Description: The Travel Innovation Competition aims to ignite new ideas across the travel industry. Finalists will win a range of prizes such as a sponsored incubation program in the Silicon Valley, a unique opportunity to attend the IATA World Passenger Symposium (WPS), network and present their ideas on stage to all the delegates."


  • First place: Sponsored incubation program in Silicon Valley by Plug and Play, Sponsored entry and speaking slot at the IATA WPS conference, Sponsored exhibition booth at the IATA WPS conference, Sponsored flight and hotel to the IATA WPS conference 
  • Second place: Sponsored IATA incubation program, Sponsored entry and speaking slot at the IATA WPS conference, Sponsored exhibition booth at the IATA WPS conference, Sponsored flight and hotel to the IATA WPS conference
  • Third place: Sponsored entry and speaking slot at the IATA WPS conference, Sponsored exhibition booth at the IATA WPS conference, Sponsored flight and hotel to the IATA WPS conference

Previous winners: Destygo, Flyto, SeatAssignMate


Description: "Take part in one of the most dynamic travel startup pitch competitions in Asia Pacific."

Prize: The winner will win tickets to the Phocuswright Conference (Hollywood, Florida) on Nov 7-9, 2017 and the WIT 2018 Conference (Singapore), in October 2018. Travelport Labs will also reward the winner with a seed funding of up to US$30,000 as well as a guaranteed spot in the Travelport Labs Startup Accelerator.

Previous winners: Troovo, Softinn


Description: "The Innovators‘ Pitch is Bitkom‘s annual contest for innovative startups. 2017 we offered young entrepreneurs the chance to present their innovative products and prototypes in the emerging categories Digital Health, IoT and Travel & Tourism."


  • 100 free eScooter rides per winner 
  • An exclusive pitch at our high-level partner VCs
  • Meeting top-notch potential business partners & investors
  • 5,000 € in cash per winner
  • A free Bitkom Get Started membership

Previous winners: Blik, Boca and Twyla

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