Australian travel tech start-up Seatfrog, which is about to change the way you can score an airline seat upgrade, has attracted $1.2m in international funding before its launch later this year.
Seatfrog is a mobile app that will allow passengers to bid for seat upgrade right up until the departure gate.
From the airline’s perspective, it allows them to maximize revenue on seats that would, under normal circumstances, fly empty.
For the passenger, Seatfrog allows them to access available upgrades and bid for them even minutes before the flight.
The successful bidder can not only pay for the upgrade through the Seatfrog app, they are also issued with a new boarding pass directly to their device for scanning at the gate.
This latest $1.2m investment in Seatfrog was led by London-based venture capital firm Howzat Partners, the investment team behind hotel search business Trivago which was sold to Expedia in 2013 for $1 billion.
Former Qantas International CEO and aviation industry expert Simon Hickey has also joined the Australian start-up as an advisor.
The Seatfrog is already integrated with airline booking systems and provides a seamless customer experience through the use of live data.
The technology also allows for airlines to award frequent flyer upgrades first before any remaining premium seats are opened up for passengers to start bidding on.
“Every year, millions of premium class seats fly empty across the globe, representing billions of dollars in unrealised revenue opportunity,” Iain Griffin, CEO and co-founder of Seatfrog said.
“For airlines, ancillaries are currently estimated to be worth around US$60 billion.
“Seatfrog’s technology dramatically broadens the scope of this market opportunity by making upgrades seamless for passengers and maximising efficiency and profit for airlines.
“Our technology brings a mobile solution to market designed for the passengers of today.
“It keeps in mind the airlines’ continual need to evolve their ancillary strategies through intelligent use of data, and the passengers’ need for an intuitive, mobile-first platform that fits with their busy lives and takes the pain and confusion out of upgrading.”
Seatfrog is currently in a private beta mode and will launch to the public later this year.