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com, Twitter: @rafat SKIFT Factsheet
-- Skift is a travel intelligence media company that offers news, insight, data, tools and services to the travel industry and the very large community of business travelers who seek expert advice to help make smart decisions about travel. -- At $2 trillion GDP a year and 100 million jobs, travel -- made up of tourism, hospitality, and transport -- is one of the world's largest industries and the largest employer. While digital has disrupted distribution and information systems, no information and intelligence brand has emerged that matches the industry's size with its digital potential. Skift will be that brand. -- Skift hopes to redefine a new generation of data & information heavy media companies, built to break out of the vertical media ghettos and scale. -- First phase starts with a news/info/data site for the travel industry, and then will add a consumer site aimed at business travelers; from news/info for the industry to news-you-can-use for active travelers. -- paidContent and its parent company ContentNext helped define the digital media industry as it exists now, and also set an early template for blog-media and information companies to model on and evolve in their own ways. -- Skift is of a new breed of media company, a crossover media+information company that will build a business spanning the professional as well as the consumer side (business traveler in Skift’s case). The closest parallel is Politico, designed to appeal to insiders as well as a large consumer base. -- Skift brings together the founders’ worldview on how broadly we look at travel, as a result of our professional and personal experiences. For us, travel begins when you leave home. Travel touches every major sector worldwide, be it local development, state and national policy, economic development, foreign policy and international relations, and sectors such as energy, design, advertising/branding etc. Skift’s media vision reflects that. -- SkiftData: Travel is now inherently digital and social. How do you build tools and services that allow the travel industry to gain intelligence on travelers, and how do you build tools for travelers that they can get both actionable and inspirational information? Skift will adopt a studio approach to build and manage a suite of meta-services that are a layer on top of existing services and open-web data, delivered any way the users want it: online, dashboard, apps, alerts etc. We’re starting by building the world's largest data warehouse of publicly available travel industry data. -- Skift’s content philosophy: We’re building Skift.com with a four-legged stool on content: it is a mix of aggregation (pure software), curation (semi-software, human intelligence), licensed (from sources such as AP, Reuters, Bloomberg, LAT, Guardian, Telegraph & many others), and original reporting. -- User base: A concentric circle of users: from travel industry execs to B2B players to the very large community of business travelers and digitally-savvy travel enthusiasts.
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-- Revenue streams/business model: A multi-pronged approach with a mix of endemic advertising for trade to the consumer advertisers for the very-addressable business traveler segment. On services, a slew of premium/subscription services for the industry and freemium services for business travelers.
The media-information brands that sectors such as media, tech, finance are used to -- digital native, 24/7, breaking news, analysis, opinion, with social hooks -- don’t exist in travel. With Skift.com, we’re creating that homepage for the travel industry, bringing all the until-now siloed sectors of the industry together. The current crop of travel trade and consumer media/info companies are mostly pre-Web legacy companies, fumbling and bumbling online, mobile isn’t on their radar. Most of the players are siloed in various sub-sectors, and have had a very cozy relationship with travel industry players. Skift has competition, in bits and pieces, but no one with large overall vision. Among the competitors includes legacy companies like Northstar (with TravelWeekly & PhocusWright as flagship brands) to industry blogs like travel tech-focused Tnooz. On the consumer side, USA Today’s done an admirable job in building its travel franchise, but only speaks to its middle America audience, and no services/data layer. We’re promising a smarter world view on travel than any other brand, through content, data, tools & services.
We have assembled a great list of media-tech investors, and raised about half million dollars in the angel round. Arranged alphabetically: Chris Ahearn http://www.linkedin.com/pub/chris-ahearn/0/39/419 Luke Beatty http://www.crunchbase.com/person/luke-beatty Gordon Crovitz http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._Gordon_Crovitz Craig Forman http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craig_Forman Jim Friedlich http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jim-friedlich/11/283/ba8 Tom Glocer http://tomglocer.com/ Vishal Gondal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishal_Gondal Jason Hirschhorn http://twitter.com/JasonHirschhorn Peter Horan http://www.linkedin.com/in/peterhoran Alan Meckler http://www.linkedin.com/pub/alan-meckler/12/396/30b Mohamed Nanabhay http://www.linkedin.com/in/mohamedn Sanjay Parthasarathy http://about.me/sanjaypat Amol Sarva http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amol_Sarva Chris Schroeder http://www.linkedin.com/pub/christopher-schroeder/6/2b0/860 Along with three unnamed investors. Founder Rafat Ali has self-funded it till the launch.
Founder/CEO: Rafat Ali founded paidContent, the media company covering the business of digital media, entertainment & information industries, in 2002. The company grew from a blog-in-a-bedroom to 30 people,
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with 4 different sites and multiple conferences. It was sold to Guardian Media in 2008, and subsequently sold in 2012 to Gigaom group. More on Rafat: http://about.me/rafat Co-founder/Head of Content: Jason Clampet is an online travel specialist who ran Frommers.com's original content efforts and editorial partner relationships. Prior to Frommer's, Jason ran websites for Citysearch.com for almost six years and wrote guidebooks for Rough Guides. More on Jason: http:// jasonclampet.com/ Team: Dennis Schaal, News Editor: Dennis was North America Editor of Tnooz and a member of the launch team; prior to that he was at Travel Weekly, as Tech Editor and Business Travel Editor. He currently writes the Digital Traveler column at USA Today. We’re building a full team including developers, data and product heads, and editorial.
Curation software by PublishThis. PublishThis allows brands to search, curate and distribute the best content from around the web, including articles, blogs, videos, tweets and photos. Licensed content from NewsCred. NewsCred licenses and curates full text articles, photos and video from sources like The Economist, The Guardian, Reuters and Forbes, helping publishers and brands create customized content experiences to drive traffic and build new revenue. Designed by ElectricPulp. ElectricPulp’s work ranges from blogs to highly functional web sites and applications. The agency’s work includes clients as diverse as Alltop, Ford, and Stephen Colbert. CMS: Built proudly on WordPress
Skift means “shift” or “change” or “transformation” in Nordic. Skift, as a company, is about that transformation, that shift, that is about the future of travel, and we’re the information and intelligence brand at the center of it. P.S. Over the last two years, Skift founder Rafat Ali has traveled all over the world, after eight clamorous years with his previous startup. What started as a 2-3 month sabbatical turned into a two year long journey, enough to fill a lifetime. After traveling through Oman, Iceland (twice), Outer Hebrides Islands, Mongolia, Comoros Islands (Twice) ,Tunisia, India (thrice), Colombia, Qatar, Uzbekistan and Myanmar, he wants to make one thing clear: no, the idea for Skift didn’t come to him in the middle of Mongolia. The genesis is a lot more prosaic: we saw a big white space in the travel information sector, we’re attacking it. Some pics from his travels, here: http://rafat.500px.com/ His personal philosophy on travel: http://bit.ly/ zOF43F
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