The next time you’re at the airport, you may hear the airlines calling out at the gate asking for volunteers to give up their seat on an overbooked flight. Wouldn’t this be so much easier if passengers could volunteer before they get to the airport? Volantio does just that: it works with airlines to text real time offers to passengers to switch flights when flights are overbooked. This saves passengers time and a trip to the airport, and allows airlines to save money.
One of our favorite parts of running Flatiron is getting to know companies that have great ideas that could change an entire industry, and this week, Volantio announced programs that shake up how we travel for the better. Volantio launched Flex Schedule with United airlines and was featured in Bloomberg, NBC News and the Economist. The team just expanded their offices at Flatiron, and in addition to United, are working with several other airlines. They are also part of the first class of the Qantas Airlines AVRO accelerator in Sydney Australia.
We sat down with the team to hear about their company culture, why they love Atlanta and their next steps.
How would you describe Volantio’s culture? How does FIC fit into that?
Volantio’s culture is one of intellectual curiosity, risk taking, and passion the travel experience broadly, and the airline industry specifically. An important enabler in our success is working in an environment that inspires us every day. There are a lot of cookie cutter office spaces in Atlanta, but only one that has beautiful bay windows, tons of natural light, and rich history. This work environment enables the creativity and curiosity necessary for us to do our very best work every day. Also, we appreciate the daily challenge / camaraderie that Arun provides - he is the human equivalent of a sour patch kid, you have to brace yourself for the initial 5-10 seconds of interaction, but after that he’s a kind and sweet individual.
[Picture: Volantio getting work done in their new office bay window]
Why did you choose to base your headquarters in Atlanta? In downtown?
In 2016, we decided to move the company from Australia to the US. Fenn and I scouted a number of locations, including the Bay Area, New York, and Atlanta. The strong support from the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Invest Atlanta, and other local organizations really impressed us. Additionally we loved the cost of living, and the ability to attract strong talent.
Once we had narrowed the list to Atlanta, we had to choose a location. Fenn and I really loved the look and feel of FIC. It passed the test of “would we be excited, proud, and happy to come to this workspace every day.” FIC’s proximity to key public transport arteries also played a role in our decision.
We have a few key priorities over the next year:
Continue to grow our customer base - we currently serve 10 airlines in North America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. We'd like to grow these relationships, and continue to expand our customer base with new partners, particularly a very large potential partner based right here in Atlanta!
Expand our team - We are actively hiring engineers. We'd like at least two more by the end of this year
Continue to refine and improve our product - Our success will depend on our ability to consistently innovate and improve our platform. This will be a core focus over the next year.