Big Interview: Distributors and hospitality on horizon for resale-as-a-service startup Fairlyne

Big Interview: Distributors and hospitality on horizon for resale-as-a-service startup Fairlyne

Less than two years old, Fairlyne is gaining momentum, having just cinhed its first seed funding to be the first-of-its-kind platform for the travel industry. We sat down with the CEO and co-founder, Gilles de Richemond, to learn more about the company’s vision for expansion

Last week Fairlyne announced it had secured $3 million in funding from their first VC-backed seed round. 

The team behind the startup put its success down to the fact the pain point they tackle delivers real value. 

Gilles de Richemond, co-founder and CEO of Fairlyne said: “All customers who own non-refundable booking in the travel industry want to be able to resell.

“We really think that the travel industry needs to move forward on this topic, it’s the last industry to do so. 

“When you buy something in travel, if you cannot use it, you can’t do anything with it. If you buy clothes, you can resell it, but this is not the case in the travel industry, at least not with a seamless journey.”
The other key driver to their recent successful round of funding is put down to the people behind the company.

De Richemond said: “We are all from travel and tourism industry but from different backgrounds.

“I think it’s part of the link of our legitimacy to tackle this issue, we have a certain expertise in these types of systems and distributions. 

De Richemond has a background as an engineer and as an entrepreneur for 20 years. 

He was previously CEO of Voyages-SNCF Technologies and CIO of Accor, which is where he met his co-founders Michael d'Eboli and Morgan Guérin.

D’Eboli spent 15 years at Accor and worked his way up from developer to deputy group CTO/CIO while Guérin held positions including chief of staff to global CIO and most recently director of IT integrations and M&A.

The trio worked together for three years at Accor before they started to think about Fairlyne. 

It then took them roughly six to nine months to build the company before its incorporation in October 2021.

“Many players we are discussing with are very interested in our value proposition, but we have to educate the market.

“We have to find those players who want to innovate and to explore with us. Sometimes it’s not easy to find this innovative mindset in players.”

In less than two years they’ve onboarded two clients, raised $3 million in funding, built a platform that allows customers to make money rather lose it and “deliver the right experience to their own customers”.

The next two years for the startup involve big plans. They want to develop their product further from minimum viable product to roll out new features such back-office features, data and reporting features. 

Their reporting capabilities will allow customers to measure the real unsatisfied demand. They already do this with OUIGO in France. 

When the train is full, customers can register to be put on the waiting lift for notifications when seats become available. This allows the train operator to ensure it sells all of its seats. 

They also want to integrate inventory software like PSS for airlines and CRS for hospitality. 

That’s all before they develop their sales. They plan to onboard another five or six customers in the next 12 months including a hospitality operator before the end of the year.

“We want to be able to have the scope of different operators in different verticals [airlines, hospitality and railway companies] but we want to partner with distributors as well.

“The ideal perspective for us is to prove in the next two years that this global platform is for operators but also for distributors, is efficient.”

With Royal Air Maroc on board, they’ve set their sights on low-cost airlines next.

“A lot of them are non-refundable and this is the perfect way for us prove our model.”

Growth plans for the next two years locked and loaded they reflect on their journey so far which wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for others.

“We receive a lot of good ideas and solutions from our customers and the people we’ve spoken to for the last two years,” said de Richemond.

“Even if you have great expertise, you also need to receive advice and speak to many people in the industry to be able to find the right solution.”