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Experts Talk About Travel Startup and Venture Capital in Skift Podcast

February 19
7:08 AM 2016

Skift, the travel intelligence platform revealed the condition of startup and venture capital funding in travel industry in a podcast. CB Insight research director and an associate of venture capital firm also presence.

In the podcast, Skift invited two industry experts, Marcelo Ballvé, Research Director at CB Insights, and Krish Jagirdar, associate at Brand New Matter. The podcast was guided by Skift reporter Alexandra E. Petri and Skift News Editor Dennis Schaal

In their discussion,as Skift reported, the experts discussed present condition of travel startups, and also the broader market of non-travel startups in general. During the discussion, issues about unicorns such as Uber and Airbnb was raised. That also includes the growing concern of overvaluations that may determine the direction of investing in 2016.

The podcast organizer, Skift was launched in August 2012. It was founded with underlying premise to be fanatically focused to document and help travel industry understanding the constant change of traveler behavior.

As a business intelligence platform for travel industry, Skift tried to provide a media, insight and marketing to the key sectors of travel industry. Skift provided four products, the daily news and insight, bi-monthly trend report, global forum and conference, and also content studio SkiftX to provide innovative marketing for travel industry.

One of the main issue discussed in the podcast is the overvaluation of unicorn travel startup such as Airbnb and Uber. Both are  startups whose value has reached more than $1 billion, with $20 billion market value for Airbnb and $62.5 billion for Uber.

However, according to research from Goldman Sachs, only 40% of consumers polled were likely to return to hotels in Airbnb and other peer-to-peer lodging service. The data showed, as Bloomberg reported, "If people have stayed in peer-to-peer lodging [P2P] in the last five years, the likelihood that they prefer traditional hotels is halved (79 percent vs. 40 percent)."

Another unicorn, Uber is also facing the serious threat in its operation. CNBC reported the ride-hailing service lost $1 billion a year in its China operation, losing to local service, Didi Kuaidi. CEO Travis Kalanick commented about its lost in an interview with Canadian news Betakit, "We have a fierce competitor that's unprofitable in every city they exist in, but they're buying up market share. I wish the world wasn't that way."

Following mr. Kalanick's remark, a spokeperson from Didi Kuaidi claimed that the comments were "outright untrue." Didi Kuaidi said its business had reached break-even in more than half of the 400 Chinese cities

The Skift podcast, which attended by two experts in travel industry and venture capital noted that overvaluation of the unicorn is a burden for the company to maintain its operation. This especially true for Airbnb and Uber.

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