AXA Seed Factory invests $500K in Airfare Forecasting startup Flyr

Jan 22, 2015
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Everybody knows that the airfare prices change all the time, but Flyr applies Data Science to make sure that you book your ticket at the lowest price possible. The 15-person San Francisco startup announced this week a $500,000 investment from AXA Seed Factory that will see a Paris office open in order to bring Flyr to Europe.

Currently, the service only tracks US flights – 1,407 routes, to be precise – and offers a service, FareBeacon (currently in beta), which alerts you when the flight you’re looking to take is at its lowest price. The company has plans to sell white label versions of the product to third party resellers in order to enable them to offer the best prices to their clients.

In Europe, innovative low-cost airline models from RyanAir & EasyJet have driven pan-European airfare costs to the floor, even from players like Lufthansa & Air France. As someone who travels frequently, I’ve relied on some of the same airfare urban legends as many others – If possible, i always try to fly on a Tuesday or Thursday, though I always cross-check with weekend dates to see the price difference. For me, Kayak’s “flexible travel dates” feature has been the most reliable source for price-checking, essentially performing 49 searches at the same time and returning the lowest price for each search into a grid of dates & prices. This method, though, relies on the traveler being flexible on the dates as well as duration of the flight – you are essentially a victim to the Airline’s pricing algorithm.

I’m not exactly sure what AXA’s strategy is here in doing a joint-venture with Flyr. AXA Seed Factory has already invested in two online platforms for fundraising – Fundshop & Particeep – and they’ve invested in Widmee, a tool for “Insurtech” companies. Now, this investment in an airfare company shows an interest in the airline industry, but more likely an interest in big data and data science applications to big data problems.

photo via tnooz