Stephan Uhrenbacher has confirmed that the most used airport app in the world is being sold to SOS Travel SpA in Italy, founded in 2017 by Rudolph Gentile.

“FLIO GmbH, the German subsidiary which actually runs operations, as well as the assets from FLIO Ltd, a UK company have been sold on to SOS Travel who already have a model to make consumers pay.” Stephan Uhrenbacher

“The parent company, FLIO Ltd UK, has been put into administration. The lead investor, who gave the latest investment as a loan, did elect not to convert this investment loan into equity.”

The idea for FLIO was originated back in 2014 when its co-founders were made aware of the airport space and “the golden hour on the sixth continent” (as per the article on The Economist magazine – click here for link, requires subscription).

“Passengers are confused and stressed at airport, at the same time, the “trinity” of airports, retailers and travel brands make a lot of money with them. And they are all very far from being digital. And the industry is huge, global and seems forever growing.” Stephan Uhrenbacher

The FLIO journey is outlined as follows by Stephan:

  • Phase 1 (2015) – Free Wifi at Airports
  • Phase 2 (2016-17) – Find what you want and get a discount
  • Phase 3 (2018) – The Best Flight Tracker
  • Phase 4 (2019) – Predicting what happens at the airport

Stephan has written a very open post about the experience of FLIO – click here for the full post and more information.

As a final piece of advice for entrepreneurs and those considering starting up a new venture, this is Stephan’s advice as a mentor to startups after 6 successful startups and now one partial failure:

  1. If it is a marketplace: Make sure the key players need you.
  2. If all your VC friends say no. Could they have another reason than “not getting it”.?
  3. Is your investor flexible enough to go the next pivot?
  4. Convertible loans sound nice, but what happens if the next round doesn’t happen?
  5. Always decide who your customer is. And love them.
  6. Make sure your USP is crystal clear. A new USP sometimes justifies a new brand. It is hard to sell a “Swiss army knife“ for x.

For referenceAn Inside the Cask chat with…the co-founder of the FLIO app


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