This is the Global Best in Class app for Travel and Hospitality in Salesforce.com’s ecosystem. Announcing Amasat’s 1st Alpha App Award! Congratulations to Kaptio for its IPMS (Itinerary & Proposal Management Solution).
i. What does it do? IPMS enables Travel and Hospitality companies to manage products, itineraries, events and conferences within the Salesforce.com platform. The complete proposal to operation life-cycle can be handled.
ii. Why is it big news for the Salesforce ecosystem? Travel and Hospitality (T&H) accounted for 9% of global GDP and USD 6.6 trillion in revenue in 2012. It is the only major vertical Salesforce.com has not heavily focused on. Its not even listed under Industry Solutions on Salesforce’s AppExchange. Salesforce is finally warming to T&H and they recently hired industry heavyweight Cory Glass to run the vertical. That warmth is about to be turned up a degree by a company from Iceland called Kaptio. This month’s app has the potential to grow into something that will impact this industry the same way Veeva is revolutionising Healthcare & Life Sciences.
iii. What does it help your sales agents do? On a sales call Kaptio’s solution elegantly handles pricing complexities associated with age, seasonality and any combination of complex packages from multiple suppliers. Agents build itineraries on the fly based on availability and have live visibility on margins and profits as they negotiate. Branded proposals are delivered as you speak with the client. Deposits and payments can be handled and IPMS can be integrated with your billing system to automate invoicing. The whole transaction can be carried out in a single call. Customers are left with a detailed, printable, branded itinerary – delivered seamlessly as a link or attachment in their inbox. T&H providers streamline and simplify a previously complex, multi-app processes.
iv. Main users? Travel agencies, tour operators, hotels and conference centers. Sweet-spot = B2B inbound operators i.e. operators bringing people into their country as opposed to sending them to multiple destinations around the world.
v. How does it demo? The demo shows how IPMS empowers a sales agent to inform the client of available options for highly complex requirements. It illustrates how a proposal can be optimised, negotiated, branded and delivered during a single call. Itinerary variables like seasonality and varying combinations of adult/child/group were handled impressively. Booking and prices can be confirmed with multiple-suppliers mid call. I loved watching how the sales agent could see precise margins and profitability change in real-time throughout the negotiation.
vi. Product roadmap?
* Added functionality to better facilitate outbound operators including GDS connectivity. Targeted for end of 2014.
* Deeper handling of inventory and allotment management for travel agencies and tour operators. Targeted for end of 2014.
* Platform for T&H companies to easily create mobile environments allowing customers to access key data. This will improve engagement and expand opportunities such as location based upselling. Targeted for end of 2014.
vii. Geographical target market. Kaptio’s IPMS will deploy globally, but initial interest is strongest in the Nordics, Germany and the UK.
viii. Where do they see themselves in 4 years? Arnar (CEO) is convinced they will be “huge”. He says with conviction “We will be the face of the travel industry for Salesforce in 4 years time. We will do for Travel & Hospitality what Veeva did for the Life Sciences Industry. Kaptio is seizing the opportunity to go in there with a new and better way of doing things.” Ragnar (CTO) says “We intend to fully disrupt this market globally. Suppliers and big players have evolved very slowly in T&H. We intend to innovate and execute rapidly to stay ahead of the curve.”
ix. Anything I would change? They are so new and potentially disruptive for the T&H industry that there’s no point in drawing up a list that echo’s their product roadmap. Personally I’d drop the word ‘Solution’ from the name ‘Itinerary & Proposal Management Solution’. IPM as opposed to IPMS is a neater acronym.
x. Investor ready? Kaptio is a rare beast – a medium risk, high reward investment.
Factors to consider:
a. The app has just entered the market. So track record is limited.
b. IPMS works really well, it’s scalable, its unique, it will address a significant part of a growing multi-trillion USD market.
c. Kaptio have proven Salesforce platform delivery skills in T&H.
d. Kaptio are cash positive and have an established revenue stream as a reputable Saleforce implementation partner.
Speed of execution will determine the scale of their success. That’s what excites me. Kaptio are developing and evolving this app at a rate of knots. Any smart early phase investor should look very closely at them. Risk-reward ratio here is very attractive.
xi. Conclusion: All companies should be ‘customer companies’, but especially organisations looking after us when we’re away from home. This app is the first big step on the road to empowering truly customer centric T&H companies. We predict Kaptio will secure strong 1st round funding in 2014 and will experience significant growth and add more big brands to their roster this year. 2015? We think that’s when Kaptio will really take off and competition between VCs for 2nd round funding will leave investors kicking themselves they didn’t get in a year earlier. Salesforce.com will become a big player in Travel & Hospitality (T&H) and Kaptio is in position!
About Kaptio: As well as blazing a trail as a cutting edge ISV in T&H, Kaptio is a leading salesforce.com consultancy in the Nordics (HQ’d in Reykjavik, Iceland). You can find out more here: http://kaptio.com/travel-for-salesforce/
About the co-founders: Arnar Laufdal Olafsson and Ragnar Fjolnisson demo’d the app to me in Dublin’s Brazen Head in the Viking heart of Dublin. Kaptio’s colourful CEO Arnar is a seasoned professional with a strong background in finance, extensive managerial experience in restaurant/hotel/theatre/catering management and 8 years experience using the salesforce.com platform. Arnar is a serial entrepreneur. He’s even owned and managed the Miss Iceland pageant (with great success). Kaptio’s young CTO Ragnar wears his steely determination to transform the T&H industry proudly. His key strengths are in product design, delivering great UX and the Salesforce platform. Ragnar’s also a very talented musician. He taught himself how to play 7 instruments despite no formal training in music. He can definitely read and write code. Ragnar worked for Arnar in the Grand Hotel Reykjavik. The boss discovered his young employee was a talented software and website developer by night. Arnar asked Ragnar to build out a Salesforce implementation for the hotel. The rest is history in the making.
About Amasat: Founded in 2013, Amasat identifies and promotes global best in class cloud apps. It focuses on apps within the ecosystem evolving around the world’s most powerful and innovative platform, Salesforce.com. Amasat calls them Alpha Apps. If you believe you have a global best in class app or a unique app that creates a new market, please email me and describe in a single sentence what makes your app an Alpha App. You’ll find contact details and more info here: Amasat
Photography+Text © Stephen Cummins