01 Dec 2016
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Starting Lineup: Upturning Travel

Re: Louis-Philippe Maurice (MBA 2008); Jean Tripier (MBA 1992); Ruzwana Bashir (MBA 2011); Jon Staff (MBA 2016); Mei Zhang (MBA 1996)
by April White

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As Airbnb has proven, the travel industry is ripe for innovation. What’s next for several alumni- run startups that are reinventing the vacation?

 
The Company The Founder The Pitch       The News
NewUGo CEO Mei Zhang
(MBA 1996)

Founded in 2015
An online platform to help people “discover, buy, and sell authentic tour experiences.” Zhang, the founder of travel firm WildChina which serves foreign visitors, launched NewUGo to connect the rapidly growing domestic Chinese travel market to off-the-beaten-path tourism resources.
Busbud CEO Louis-Philippe Maurice
(MBA 2008)

Founded in 2011
“The best way to book bus tickets,” aggregating information on a half-million bus routes in 63 countries. Winner of the 2014 Alumni New Venture Competition’s Best Investment category, Busbud has debuted a product that allows third parties to integrate bus search and ticketing into their websites.
FLYR CEO Jean Tripier
(MBA 1992)

Founded in 2013
“The data science company that ends the guessing game of booking airfares.” When JetBlue created a venture capital arm earlier this year, its first investment was in FLYR’s technology.
Peek CEO Ruzwana Bashir
(MBA 2011)

Founded in 2012
A curated travel activities booking site, “dedicated to making travel planning enjoyable.” Earlier this year, Peek raised an additional $10 million and announced an instant-booking partnership with Yelp.
Getaway CEO Jon Staff (MBA 2016)
Founded in 2015
Tiny vacation houses for an escape from the digital daily grind: “Forget the city, forget work, and remember who and what is most important.” Born at the Harvard i-lab, Getaway recently used an online real estate investment marketplace to raise $110,000 in just 45 minutes. The money will help fund a new 18-cabin tiny house campground in Upstate New York.
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