Blockchain to turn the disruption process into an opportunity
We’ve all been there. You are just about to leave to the airport - or maybe you’ve already arrived - and you learn that your flight has been delayed or even worse, cancelled! The last thing you want to do is call an airline customer service line or hold for hours to maybe miss the closest flight alternative available. And you do not want to wait for a flight credit when instant solutions are the new normal.
Airlines have been struggling with legacy technology and subsequent fragmented and broken processes based on decades old rules within their own eco system, where direct notifications of the customer were not foreseen. The volcano eruption in Iceland in early 2010 caused disruption on a huge scale in Norther and Western Europe. It made airlines realise that things need to change. Yet a holistic solution is not yet in place even today.
TrustaBit is a start up that plans to address some of these issues. They aim to mobilise the traveller, using blockchain technology to enable airlines to automatically issue vouchers to passengers when their flights are delayed, overbooked or canceled. The vouchers could then be used to book transportation, hotel stays, etc. in a safe and secure way, instantly. Customers are notified about disruptions prior to arriving at the airport via their preferred channel.
Trustabit’s mission is to give control back to the customer even in situations of disruption.
Read the interview with Saritta Hines, Founder and CEO at Trustabit:
• What gave you the idea for TrustaBit?
Great question! In the spring of 2017, my 7-year-old daughter and I built an Ethereum mining rig together. It was a great project, but once the rig was built, there was nothing more to do - it just made loud noises and heated up the house! I wanted to understand more about the underlying technology of Ethereum. This is what spawned my interest in blockchain. I began reading anything I could find tied to blockchain technology, but it was an audio book that peaked my interest in enterprise applications.
I sat in my living room one afternoon, brainstorming blockchain applications for different industries, from fintech to escrow. When the issue of flight delays came up, we knew that this was a critical flaw in the travel industry that somehow, we have come to accept. Delayed flights have been such a pain point for us and so many other travellers in both business and personal capacities, yet there was no seamless solution on the market. It didn’t take long for us to realize that this was a solution we needed to create. That was the beginning of TrustaBit.
• Have you received any responses from the airline companies? If so, which ones? What are their responses?
We cannot name names, for legal reasons, but I can say that we have been in communication with a few top tier airlines in hopes of securing partnership.
• Do you know of any other companies doing this?
There are companies like TrustaBit, but none that match our solution. Unlike other companies in the market, TrustaBit works directly with airlines to provide an integrated solution, rather than facilitating a “back and forth” conversation. Current customer rights companies function as agents, charging 25% of the total compensation owed to the passenger just to process their claims. This process is still done manually, which leaves room for human error and further delays. By using blockchain technology to automate the compensation process and Hyperledger Fabric to provide a secured, shared ledger that is updated and validated in real time, our TAB protocol will ultimately render these companies obsolete. We plan to work directly with the airlines, keeping traveler satisfaction as a top priority - that is the TrustaBit difference.
• How far away are you from going to market?
We have a demo available now and estimate a 12-week timeline for the completion of our MVP.
• Are you doing any pitch contests?
Yes. In fact, we recently competed in the Travel Tech Con 2018 pitching competition in San Francisco, CA and took home a coveted prize from XXL Solutions. The Founder, Ursula Silling specifically picked TrustaBit to receive the award. We are excited about this opportunity as Ursula and her team are leading change in the digital era!
• Are you bootstrapping or have investors?
We are currently bootstrapped, but recently launched our StartEngine campaign and are accepting pre-ICO investments for a limited time. You can find more details on the offering and bonus options here.
• Were you already a developer or in the blockchain industry before starting TrustaBit? I see your data analytics background on the site.
I have been in tech for more than 13 years as a platform architect, and am more technical than function, however, I am not a developer. We recently amped up our development team, bringing on three new members. They are exceptional, so we are excited to have them on board!
• How did Microsoft learn about your company? What has been the response to the video?
I reached out in response to a call for business owners/entrepreneurs. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never heard of a DApp (decentralized application) being represented by a Fortune 500 company in a major ad campaign, plus a company like Microsoft would have their choice of applicants. A few days later, I received an email saying Microsoft had selected TrustaBit for the gig. The team and I were stoked! We believe that they saw something unique in TrustaBit and recognized the value in our project. The response has been amazing! We are so grateful for the support.