How would you describe your business idea to a potential investor?
With eco.mio, we help companies to reduce their travel cost as well as the associated CO2 footprint.
This is accomplished by rewarding business travelers when they help to achieve these savings. Employees can choose a cheaper offer, a video conference instead of a trip, an earlier booking, an eco-friendly alternative or a private accommodation instead of a hotel stay.
What problem do you want to solve? What is your goal?
Today, the interests of employers and employees are not aligned when it comes to traveling for work:
Firstly, for the same trip the average spending on business trips is twice as high compared to private trips. For business travelers the price has a low priority. Additionally, when the company permits the use of bonus points from loyalty programs for private use, there is an even higher incentive for the traveler to spend more, since the increased spending results in more points.
Secondly, with ambitious climate targets the pressure on companies to not only offset but also to limit CO2 emissions on business trips is steadily increasing. At the same time, many business travelers do not see reducing emissions as a high priority.
A company could solve this misalignment with strict internal travel policies. Though, this approach would demotivate employees — feeling a loss of autonomy and comfort.
With eco.mio employees are incentivized to spend less and travel eco-friendlier by receiving a share of the actual savings that they generate for their employer.
How did you come up with your idea/concept?
During her time as a strategy consultant our CEO Katharina took notice of the eagerness with which business travelers collect miles and bonus points from airline and hotel loyalty programs — no matter at which costs. Oftentimes, even despite extra efforts. They would accept a longer taxi drive to the client’s site, just in order to stay in the hotel chain of their preferred loyalty program and thereby collect more points. Something had to be done about these wrong incentives to spend more.
What is your business model?
We offer our product as a B2B software as a service (SaaS) solution. By charging a monthly fee per user based on the expected savings, we provide a low-risk pricing model for our customers.
Our product can be seamlessly integrated into our customers’ existing business travel booking solutions and comes with an additional user webtool.
Since COVID-19, the travel industry is facing tough times. How are you coping with the situation?
2020 was a tough year for launching a start-up within the business travel sector. On the other hand, we have noticed that the pandemic increased companies’ cost and environmental awareness. A lot of travel managers are now even more interested in implementing innovative solutions to be prepared once the business travel volume picks up again. We therefore use the current times to reach out to new customers and for finetuning our product and algorithm.
Why did you decide to work with XPRENEURS?
XPRENEURS offers the perfect combination of networking, knowledge and industry contacts. These are important resources for a start-up, especially in an early stage, where there are many different topics that need to be considered.
We very much enjoyed our time in the program and have vastly benefited from the content and contacts. Therefore, we highly appreciate the opportunity to be part of this great incubator network.