OneGo’s Founder Explains Why DC Is the Hub of His Travel Startup

Figuring out air travel plans is a hassle and for frequent business fliers who have to arrange their own travel, that frustration is only multiplied. Paulius Grigas has an intimate understanding of the annoyances of business travel more than two decades after the serial entrepreneur started building companies as a teenager in Lithuania. Now living in Washington, D.C., he’s launching a new company to accommodate the necessity of air travel while helping eliminate some of the aggravation of having to spend so much time, effort and money arranging and rearranging flights.

“Air travel can be hard to predict for businesses,” Grigas said in an interview. “Prices and budgets always fluctuate. I want to make air travel predictable.”

Last fall, Grigas decided to put those ideas intro practice withOneGo, which offers a tiered monthly subscription fee and lets customers fly (economy class) as much as they want. The basic level costs $1,500 a month and customers have to book a week ahead of time and pay any change fees. For another $1,000 a month, booking can be done as little as six hours ahead of time, while an extra $750 a month covers any change fees too. Whatever flights are taken, customers do get to keep the miles they accrue, which Grigas said is something business travelers usually care about. But the attraction of one payment a month for air travel is drawing plenty of interest, Grigas said.

“We are now targeting small and medium businesses or individuals with no travel department,” Grigas said. “I’m getting a lot of interest from consultants, financial consultants and people in real estate and sales.”

To build the app required looking at and analyzing a lot of data on the current commercial flight industry. Grigas wanted to make the pricing system and offerings as attractive as possible, but that meant understanding as much as possible about how airlines determine prices, where flights go and when and which flights are most likely to appeal to the customers OneGo is targeting.

“This industry is very complex,” Grigas said. “We are digging deep into prices and routes and where the traffic flows to make this work.”

The company is still in the pre-registration phase and its current routes are limited to the West Coast, but Grigas said he expects to expand to flights all over the country soon after the company officially launches in the fall. Despite the first routes being on the West Coast, Grigas and his team are sticking to making D.C. their headquarters. Grigas is bootstrapping the company right now, although with an eye toward raising a round of funding in the future. So far, he has hired 15 people for OneGo, but said he is still working on adding more, especially software developers.

“Setting up operations here in D.C. was more attractive than on the West Coast,” Grigas said. “There’s a lot of talent here and creating companies is all about bringing good teams together.”

In some ways, OneGo is like any other travel agent service, albeit with a narrower market target. To airlines, OneGo is a middleman that doesn’t require any extra scrutiny because the company still uses the airlines’ own systems for booking flights. Grigas said partnerships with some airlines in the future would be a possibility, but for now OneGo is all about making the endless flying that modern business requires as painless as possible.

“I always wanted it to be easier,” Grigas said. “Reserving flights on an app without needing to look at prices is what people want, it’s what I wanted.”

 

[“source – dcinno.streetwise.co”]

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