And breathe… we are nearing the end of the craziness that is London Tech Week. Once again it has been a jam-packed week of interesting, insightful but slightly random happenings. Personally, I have two standout highlights. The first was being a part of the pitch and panel event with L&P’s TravelTech Lab. I was delighted to be asked to compere the event and it was fantastic to be back in the land of travel tech alongside innovators who are clearly making waves. The event saw three startups pitch their wares to key corporates across three areas – airlines, venues & attractions and hotels. We heard from Charles Cadbury, co-founder of Dazzle, a voice and chatbot concierge for hotels and resorts; Essa Saulat and Tim Fernando, co-founders of Esplorio, an app to automatically record and share your travels; and Markus Ehrnooth, co-founder of KNOMI, a London luxury shopping app.
What stood out for me is that the travel industry is moving so quickly and technology continues to revolutionise every part of it. And it’s still all about one thing – creating personalised travel experiences – experiences that are relevant, convenient and above all informed. It’s clear that the most valuable technologies are those that deliver knowledge about the traveller. Technology that enables travel brands to gather feedback and do better, instantly. Technology that delivers relevance. And data, and access to this data, whether it be a social platform, an app, location based technology is at its core (no surprise I know).
And once again, bringing together the whole ecosystem is so important for any this sectors development and following discussions during the all important networking drinks, I am hopeful that some of the corporates and startups may well be able to work together to further develop innovative solutions and learn from each other. All solutions pitched were remarkable and will clearly change the way we travel in some way – but there could only be one winner…. both the audience and judges voted for….. Dazzle… so a big well done to the Dazzle team!
My second highlight was seeing madcap inventor and entrepreneur Richard Browning (the UK’s real life ‘Iron Man’ as reported here in WIRED) showcase his jet powered suit outside the Europas. Yes, I’ll admit I have a bit of a thing for Marvel (and Tony Stark in particular), but it was genuinely incredible to see him lift off the ground, hover and come hurtling towards the crowd (in a controlled and safe manner of course) and then hear more about his journey from Royal Marine to entrepreneur and founder of Gravity …the quote of the day was ‘It’s about cracking that survivability bit, safety first, fun second’. One to watch surely.
And of course there were the usual glamorous awards ceremonies, thought-provoking talks and constant networking that has kept us on our toes. A few more events to go and then we can head into the weekend and collapse. Once again, thanks London Tech Week, it’s been a pleasure.