I am happy to announce that we led an investment in ImpulseFlyer, and would like to welcome them to the Neoteny Labs family. ImpulseFlyer is a luxury and boutique hotel-specific private sale platform with Asia Pacific inventory that is co-founded by Steven Gong (CEO) and Andy Croll (CTO).
Despite the apparent dominance of regional players in the region like Agoda, Zuji, Asiatravel, Asiarooms and entry by global players such as Expedia, Hotels.com and Booking.com, the travel sector is still a growth industry as the middle class in emerging economies of Asia Pacific continue their climb up the rungs of the economic ladder. The growing segment of middle class consumers – emboldened by higher per-capita GDP and their interactions on the internet through computers and mobile phones – will experience wanderlust and yearn for travel. Tourists from beyond Asia Pacific are also drawn to this region by its diverse sights and value-for-money.
I was first introduced to Steven in July last year. He had cut his teeth in the online travel space as an investor and executive at Wego for 2 years before cashing out when Wego merged with HolidayIQ. He pitched ImpulseFlyer to me as the only founder, with its prototype still in the works. I sat on it for a bit as I wasn’t keen on single founder companies, and really wanted to see how he would put his team together and execute.
To his credit, Steven responded admirably, adding Andy to his team as his CTO and co-founder, and delivering his MVP with an initial batch of luxury and boutique hotel inventory. VCs typically assess people, markets and idea, but when considering investments at such an early stage with little information, one can only practically consider people and execution. On both counts, ImpulseFlyer passed with flying colors.
I’m excited at the combination of Steven’s travel industry experience and leadership, and Andy’s finesse in design, and look forward to a sleek travel product that middle and upper class travelers would come to love and use.
I will be joining ImpulseFlyer’s board as part of our investment into their seed round.
I wish Steven and Andy all the best, and look forward to helping them in their growth, both as an investor and impulsive flyer ;-).