Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Innovation Summit: Everbread - air search change that sounds good but need to see more before I can be sure it is revoultionary

Everbread is in the middle of a perfect storm of PR and buzz. A storm combining the high profile of their CEO (Morten Lund - who famously invested in Skype), the constant chatter over the need for alternatives to ITA in the wake of the Google/ITA merger and efforts by their staff to demo the product anywhere anytime (including in a suit, by a pool in 35C/99% humidity in Singapore).

Assen Vassilev Co-Founder and VP Strategy and Business Development of Everbread spoke today at the PhoCusWright Innovation Summit about his Haystack product. Haystack is an air availability and pricing search engine. A search engine but not a booking engine. They are seeking to by a B2B engine provider who separates searching from booking and fulfillment.

Their claim to a difference between existing OTA search and engines like ITA is that they are able to display fare and routing combinations not seen before. Combinations of on-GDS and off-GDS fares and routes (ie LCC) from different airports supporting the destination or departure city. Combinations that go beyond interline and carrier alliance ties. In the demos I saw at WebInTravel in Singapore I was shown fare and routing combinations that were less convenient but cheaper than traditional search results. Different to anything I have seen from an OTA or meta-search company. During the presentation Vassilev claimed that Haystack often presented results that were both more convenient and cheaper due to the ability bring in different departure airport options.

I had high expectations of this presentation coming into the Summit. The shots shown to me in Singapore were unlike anything I had seen from any other search engine. Unfortunately after the Innovation Summit presentation I was left with some of the same questions I had in Singapore and a desire to see more. The presentation needed to show more of examples rather than build up the story behind the business and the need for search revolution. The audience would have been more impressed by a series of examples of successful savings and routings rather needing to be introduced to the concept. I recommend that Everbread start a campaign of getting examples out there.

Rod Cuthbert on the Critics Circle agreed calling the presentation "entertaining" but felt it "left him in the dark about the business". Gene Quinn (also on the panel) said that "so many people are looking for alternatives to the Google/ITA combination" and thought that Everbread had "potentially a very powerful solution" but that he "did not see enough of the engine."

The people I have met from Everbread are smart and engaging and the story is a good one but I need to see more proof before we can confirm the tag of revolutionary.

For more on Everbread check out these stories - Tnooz and TechCrunch


muntomann said...

This is the weirdest thing I have ever read. Lets say that every singe investor at this conference has asked us to get in and the amasing people (YES EARLY FOUNDERS at ITA + the Google guys) have been giving us compliemnts that would make any teen girl flush for 3 weeks. Get real all you blogger dudes - with day jobs :)

Im scandinavian and I say the truth - and I live in a country where we have the worlds best wellfare and the worlds prettiest girls.

Morten Lund!!

Anonymous said...

Grow up Morten. We are all still waiting to see it in action two years later.
Complements are cheap by the dozen.