Volo-in-ritardo, the startup that helps passengers to get money back from airlines companies
It's time for holidays, for travelling and for planes.
And we are probably going to run up against delays, overbooking, flight cancellations. Problems always lurking when we flight and able to make us miss connections, hours of relax and entertainment, events. And that make us feel powerless, probably because we know very little about our rights as passengers.
Following delays, cancellations and overbookings, passengers are entitled to compensation ranging from €250 to €600, but seldom receive this. This involves at least 1.5 billion Euro annually.
Only 7% of passengers who have the right to money are aware of the legislation and regulations.
The Amsterdam startup Green Claim aims to raise this 7% to 100% , and focusing on this business has recently launched websites for flight delays in eight European countries.
The idea came quite by accident, as told by Tom van Bokhoven, one of the three founder.
"I had to flight from Greece to Amsterdam and my plane was delayed for 2 hours and 50 minutes. So, googling to loose my time I came across the information that for only 10 minutes apart I had lost 400 euro refund. A month later I read a newspaper where I discover that there is indeed an "issue refunds" open against airlines companies and I thought: I want to do something about this problem! Two friends, Mario Wester and Bart de Jonge joined me and here we are, nine more people in the team and sites located for 8 European countries ".
And what about the business?
"Our current model is quite easy, based on the online platform and our offer of two different services.With the Premium-account all services are included, also postage costs even for airline companies and authorities outside Europe; besides, the Pro-account is excluding postage and summation, it is obviously cheaper.
We do not charge people higher percentages when the claim succeeds, or any other additional costs. If with our help they have succeeded in getting compensation, if they are satisfied, they can support us by making a donation".
Any investor behind you?
"Since now, we just bootstrapped! 18 thousand euros for the initial startup in Holland and GB, where we had good feedbacks quite fast e began to have cash-flows to develop and grow. In May we had a bank loan to buy some new data feed, the most expensive thing since now in our business!"
"We would like to launch in other European Countries within the first half of 2013. Then, we will focus directly the US market.