Startup Competition Guide


Accelerators targeting travel technology companies

Including Amadeus Next, Booking Booster, Founders Factory Accelerator and Little Argas Accelerator

Innovation series by Steven Loeb
February 1, 2018
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For startups, there are numerous paths for getting their name out there. One way, which Vator has been covering recently, are startup competitions, but another popular method to get a foot in the door, as well as some funding and traction, are accelerators. These are programs that provide companies advice, guidance and various forms of support for startups in their early stages. They also often invest in the companies, for a certain equity stake.

Need a list of startup competitions, challenges, accelerators, etc. from around the world? Check out VatorX. You can find them, or list yours!

There are some very well-known accelerators out there, including Y Combinator and 500 Startups, which have made their names through various successful alumni. Those programs fairly general, accepting companies from a variety of different spaces. 

For some companies, it may help to join an accelerator that only focuses on their specific area. That's especially true for those in more specialized spaces, which will have their own unique challenges and regulations.

Here are some of the accelerators that are focused specifically on mentoring companies in the travel tech space:


"It once took months to plan a voyage across the ocean, now it can be done in a few taps. We are witnessing an unprecedented shift in the way we move, sleep, eat, buy, and see.

At Plug and Play, we are launching our Travel and Hospitality accelerator to catalyze this change. Across the entire value chain, there is innovation and invention to be had."

Investment amount: Check size ranges from $25,000 to $500,000

Program benefits: Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, AWS

Mentor makeup: Carolin Tolksdorf, Mark Sanislav, Steph Jacobs, Chip Heath

Portfolio companies: Cambiu, Grabr, Groups360, Hello Scout, Unicobag



"Amadeus Next is a travel tech startup community in Asia Pacific. The community consists of startups, Amadeus’ customers & advisors, enterprises, incubators, accelerators, & co-working spaces, media companies & event organizers, startup associations, universities & governments, investors & venture capital that are all passionate about travel tech. Within the community, Amadeus mentors, nurtures and partners with startups in Asia Pacific to take them to the next level. Startups leverage Amadeus’ technology, expertise, reach and funding to scale into great companies."

Investment amount: Amadeus Next does not take any equity from the startups

Program benefits:

  • Technology: Access to Amadeus’ technology and solutions to build and validate the Minimum Viable Product, as well as leverage decades of experience in travel technology.
  • Expertise: The ability to work with Amadeus experts to incubate and validate new ideas and businesses, as well as mentoring and guidance to navigate their way to success.
  • Reach: Connect to the right network to test, validate and pilot new business models with Amadeus customers and industry players.
  • Funding: Introductions to investors and venture capital around the world. Globally, Amadeus also has a dedicated Amadeus Venture Fund which offers early stage minority investments in startups.

Portfolio companies: BorderPass, Seatfrog, TripVerse



"With this programme, we want to help make sure that tourism is a force for good by supporting a select group of extraordinary scale-ups as they seek to grow their business and impact globally, thus working together toward a more sustainable future for the global tourism industry."

Investment amount: A three-week accelerator programme for scale-ups dedicated to sustainable tourism, culminating in an opportunity to pitch for grants of up to €500,000. does not take any equity from your business. The financial support given will be in the form of a grant. In return, will request updates on how your business and impact of your efforts are growing for up to 5 years after the completion of the programme. We will use this information on the programme website and other external channels.

Program benefits: 

  • Learn

During the three-week programme, mentors and experts on sustainable tourism and scaling will share their knowledge on strategy, impact measurement, organisational growth, finance, investment, marketing and more.

  • Grow

Booking Booster is all about growth! While you’ll start working on your scaling plan to expand your business and impact during the first week, this programme is also about personal growth. There will be personal development workshops that help you advance as an entrepreneur and as a leader.

  • Connect

Besides spending time and networking with other inspiring scale-ups, you’ll meet your mentors, as well as experts from, the wider sustainable tourism industry and beyond.

Portfolio companies: MovingWorlds, Authenticook, Backstreet Academy,


"Our 6-month bespoke accelerator programme delivers unparalleled growth opportunities, with exclusive access to our corporate partners, our networks and operating team."

Investment amount: We help secure you the right amount of capital at the right time from the right sources. We also advise on financial models, legal specs, employee options, cap tables and NEDs.

Program benefits: 

  1. Bus Dev & Go to Market: We help you map and then access your market. We agree a bus dev plan and then connect you with our corporate investors and our network, in a highly-targeted way.
  2. Growth & Performance: From analytics to performance marketing, our Growth team equips you with the strategies, tactics, tools and processes to optimise and grow your business.
  3. Product & Engineering: We challenge and advise you on how to optimise product, roadmap and engineering processes, we support and equip you with the means to build outstanding products.
  4. Brand & PR: We help you tell your story in the most simple, accessible way, and then make sure it gets to the right audiences at the right time for maximum brand and product exposure.
  5. Talent & Team: We draw up a bespoke programme to understand your needs and goals. We help you shape your hiring culture and give you the tools you need to attract and retain the very best.
  6. A Fair Deal: We offer £30,000 cash + £220,000 in services including desk space in our Kensington hub and access to our exclusive events and team.

Portfolio companies: Car and Away, FlightSayer, WeTrip


"Flight Centre brought discounted airfares to the Australian market over 30 years ago, and since then we have continued to be quite entrepreneurial as a company. The launch of our travel startup investment arm is part of an exciting plan for our future.

Our goal is to work with our partners to nurture new business ideas and fast track travel start-up companies incorporating areas of our DNA. We want to be the destination of choice for a wide range of travel and technology start-ups."

Investment amount: Little Argas invests up to 50k for 7.5% of the company’s equity, up to $300,000 in businesses in the growth stage and up to $2 million in companies in the Scale-up stage. 

Program benefits: 

  • Work with people (Individuals or groups) who have a working product in need of acceleration.
  • Work with businesses who require investment from platforms (expertise) provided by FCTG in order to accelerate.
  • Identify some of the complex and tough travel problems across the value chain.
  • Bring together entrepreneurial minds to find creative solutions and create new revenue streams.
  • Work with people who have an established working product that may or may not be in travel but related to one of our focus sectors.
  • Invest in innovations that result in deep engagement with customers and deliver significant financial impact.

Portfolio companies: None specified


 Hangar 51

"Join Hangar 51 to work with one of the world’s largest airline groups and find solutions to real business and customer challenges"

Investment amount: We are looking to make early-stage investments. Each participant will receive a bespoke investment offer before joining the programme.

Program benefits: 

We’ll provide your business with opportunities to:

  • Trial your product with IAG
  • Access to funding from IAG
  • Receive mentoring from Senior IAG Executives
  • Gain insights from subject matter experts through a top-notch education programme

Portfolio companies: Esplorio, Resolver, VChain Tech, Warwick Analytics



"TestBED is a unique 10-week accelerator programme that gives start-ups an invaluable opportunity to test their products within an operating Marriott Hotel in a major European city."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: 

  • Feedback from Marriott guests and associates to help accelerate their product
  • A marketing training programme, tailored to their needs, provided by industry leaders
  • Mentoring from a range of experts from Marriott Hotels
  • Global exposure through Marriott Hotels’ marketing and media
  • The opportunity to attend TEDx and industry events supported by Marriott Hotels

Portfolio companies: Reward Technology, Umbo, HiJiffy, My Brain Technologies, Mymanu, New'ee, Phaceology, Optishower



"Travelport Labs exists to get the best, most disruptive travel products into customers’ hands faster. We’re a diverse team who believes collaborating, running lean and engaging with people is the only way to successfully bring new ideas to life."

Investment amount: $30,000 per team, and Travelport Labs takes 8 percent equity

Program benefits: As part of our program, startups have access to the Travelport Commerce Platform and technical expertise to help them get the most out of it. We also surround teams with coaches who can help in areas like research, user experience, application development, product management, and marketing.

Portfolio companies: Wolo, Stay22, StayDelightful, Cape



"An intensive four-week acceleration program in Lisbon that will turn fresh ideas into successful businesses."

Investment amount: Not specified

Program benefits: 

  • Workshops and methodology
  • Learning by sharing sessions
  • Tools, templates and perks
  • One on one meetings with world class mentors
  • Guest speakers and investors

Mentor makeup: Alexandre Pinto, Bruno Castello, Cristiano Viegas, Luís Costa, Nuno Santos

Portfolio companies: ClaimAir, Daytrippn, Dlast,, Spindler Bookndo



"A new travel tech start-up programme from and Expedia Affiliate Network"

Investment amount: The final winner will also receive $10,000 worth of travel vouchers to go towards their business travel expenses.

Program benefits: 

Participating start-ups will receive strategic support directly from and EAN including:

  • Access to content-rich APIs
  • Access to key decision makers at & EAN
  • Mentorship support via monthly office hours and workshops with seasoned & EAN’s development, UX/UI and Marketing teams
  • Access to deep expertise and insights through advisory workshops covering everything from product development and machine learning to  strategy, sales and marketing

Participating start-ups will also receive operational and professional support directly from Traveltech Lab including:

  • Access to Traveltech Lab’s bespoke business support curriculum
  • Curated events programme for the travel tech industry, with speakers from across the sector
  • 24/7 access to a stunning fully-serviced and staffed workspace with London & Partners and a host of other inspiring start-ups
  • Tailored introductions to London & Partners and their partner network

Mentor makeup: Ali Syed, Fritz Oberhummer, Makram Atiyah, Anshu Goel, Gianmarco Panfili

Portfolio companies: CityStasher, DayBreakHotels, Live2Leave, Shoot My Travel, Triptech



"The MIST Startup Accelerator is for early stage companies in travel tech or traditional tourism. Applicants should be based in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand*, or Viet Nam with at least one founder native to one of these countries. You should also have an MVP (minimum viable product) already. MIST does not accept idea-stage startups."

Investment amount: $20,000

Program benefits: 

  • Attend an all-expenses paid intensive bootcamp to learn startup fundamentals and meet MIST’s corps of mentors. 
  • Access the Mekong region’s tourism and travel tech startup ecosystem, including investors, mentors, incubators, government officials, and other startups.
  • Compete to get partnered with an expert mentor – and to receive six months of structured and intensive mentorship.
  • Compete to win in-kind support to help you propel your business including all-expense-paid tailored business matching at leading regional conferences.

Mentor makeup: Bart Bellers, Pai Somsak Boonkam, Victor Chua, Ian Fenwick

Portfolio companies: BookMeBus

(Image source:


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