Dublin Startup Stories: MTT

Dublin startups tell their stories, powered by DCU Ryan Academy.

Meet Fergal Kelly, Chief Commercial Officer of MTT…

What was the inspiration behind MTT?
MTT (Mobile Travel Technologies) was founded in 2005 with the vision that travel would become dominantly accessed and managed via mobile. Although the iPhone was yet to be launched, the introduction of feature phones and the early versions of the mobile internet were having an impact and changing the way people wanted to interact with all types of services. MTT recently celebrated 10 years in business and today we process millions of travel bookings and experiences via mobile for our customers every day. Some of our airline customers are generating over 13% of their revenues via mobile and these figures are growing all the time. Mobile is fast becoming the key channel through which travel is researched, consumed, managed and experienced.

What market are MTT targeting and how big is it?
Travel is a $7 trillion industry, representing approximately 10% of global GDP, and together mobile and travel are a natural fit. Within the travel industry, MTT specifically targets the airline, corporate travel and travel agency markets. The appetite for mobile services from travellers is growing exponentially, and with constantly evolving mobile technologies and regular OS enhancements from Apple and Google, the opportunity for mobile travel continues to grow. The stats quoted by industry analysts say it all: by 2017, 92% of airlines will enable passengers to purchase their services via apps, and will enable retail promotions via mobile. Also: mobile booking transactions in corporate travel are expected to double from 2014 to 2016 alone.

What’s your business model?
MTT’s business model is based on annual license fees with support and maintenance costs.

MTT-homepage-Dublin-Globe

Who are MTT’s investors, and why does that matter?
MTT was acquired in July of this year by Travelport, a multinational travel commerce platform provider working with over 400 airlines and 67,000 travel agencies worldwide. This was a very significant and exciting development to help accelerate our business and delivery of innovative mobile products and services to the travel industry. Travelport (which listed in September 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange) provides MTT with scale and global reach along with a vast range of travel content, such as hotel booking inventory, which means that together we can now offer more comprehensive mobile services to a wider range of customers.

Who are your competitors and potential partners?
MTT’s competitors include large technology providers to airlines, travel companies that also provide mobile offerings, design agencies that create apps and general mobile technology providers. We believe MTT is unique, however, in that it is the only 100% dedicated mobile travel technology company: we only do mobile and we only do travel. We are better positioned than our competitors to adapt and evolve with the pace of change in mobile (which is incredibly fast) and the opportunities it affords airlines and travel companies (which are many). We also have in-depth experience integrating with airline and other travel back-end systems, which can be quite complex; that gives us an advantage over general mobile technology providers and design agencies. That combination of our focus on mobile travel, industry knowledge & integration experience and an emphasis on the end user gives us an important edge over the competition.

What do you think motivated your investors to write that check?
Mobile is fast becoming the key channel through which travel is researched, consumed, managed and experienced. With its market-leading Travel Commerce Platform, Travelport had already established a leadership position, but with 25% of all commerce transactions now being transacted through a mobile device, mobile travel commerce was a key part of Travelport’s plans. MTT brings mobile differentiation to Travelport and strengthens their ability to distribute its vast array of rich content through mobile. Working together, we can capitalise on new mobile opportunities in travel.

What milestones do you plan to achieve in the next six months?
In the next six months, MTT will be announcing deals with some of the travel industry’s most well-known brands, and we will continue to concentrate on winning more business. Investing in new product development and innovation will be a big focus, as well as working with our existing clients on new mobile innovations. We also expect to see the company grow from the current number of 180 staff to 250 staff.

What advice can you offer companies in Dublin who are just starting out?
Bringing together a small but strong team from the outset with the right combination of product evangelization, innovation, commercial acumen, financial management and sales expertise is really important. Enterprise Ireland provides excellent support, mentoring and an international network to startup companies: getting involved in their incubator program for high potential startups is very worthwhile.

Tell us one (or more) things you love about Dublin as a startup community and as a city?
Dublin has an vibrant startup scene with so much great talent, from experienced ‘startup veterans’ who have been through the ups and downs of transforming startups into established businesses internationally to talented graduates coming out of university. The fact that Dublin is the European HQ for some of the world’s largest tech brands has further fuelled the atmosphere of innovation and creativity that is so important for a thriving startup community. For any company with a mission to redefine its industry, Dublin is now a crossroads for some of the best and brightest talent in Europe.

What makes it great as a city? The informality and sense of potential and opportunity in every conversation you strike up, either at work or at play.

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