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Young travel tech entrepreneurs say economic uncertainty will impact funding opportunities in 2023


Travel tech innovators under 35 years old worried by lack of fundraising opportunities and shifting from growth to profit strategies to survive. Young Leaders Summit took place today at the Phocuswright Conference 2022, taking place this week in Phoenix, Arizona.

PΗΟΕΝΙΧ, AΡΙΖΟΝΑ - The Phocuswright Young Leaders Summit took place at the Phocuswright Conference 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona and was attended by around 40 future stars of the travel tech space under the age of 35 years old. 

With almost all the Young Leaders attending the summit being entrepreneurs a big topic of discussion during the day was fundraising. However, when polled only 8% felt that 2023 was a better year for raising funds than 2022 had been so far, due to the current economic outlook. 

Perhaps reflecting the challenges that young entrepreneurs are currently facing in fundraising, one third of the audience (29%) said that they were currently focusing their business strategy towards becoming profitable and away from growth – whilst only half of those (16%) said that this had been their strategy only a year ago. 

Reacting to this news, Henry Chen Weinstein, from venture capital firm One Travel Ventures comments: “With rising interest rates, inflation raging, and general uncertainty in the economy understandably it is becoming harder to raise funds and young entrepreneurs are much more aware of this than most. Pivoting from a ‘grow, grow, grow’ strategy to one of profitability makes sense clearly, survival might soon be the name of the game.”

During the summit the topic of ‘work from home’ and ‘work from anywhere’ was discussed and when polled almost half the audience (45%) said that such policies would heavily influence their choice of whether or not to accept a new job offer – with around one third of the audience also saying they’d employ people on a similar basis. Almost all participants saw such changes as a game changer for the travel tech space. 

Event host and master of ceremonies Aurélie Krau, Head of Customer Success at Hubli, is well known for her work from anywhere lifestyle and welcomes this news: “We're kicking off a new era, we need to rebuild the way we approach our careers forever in this post-pandemic world. We need to learn to be ‘Commanders of Chaos’, to quote our keynote speaker Rohit Talwar, CEO of Fast Future."

Roughly a similar percentage – at 50% – said that they would not consider working at a company that does not have a diverse and inclusive culture. 

Interestingly, whilst the audience showed a strong concern for sustainability issues, overwhelmingly they felt that this was unlikely to have much of an impact on the travel industry in the next decade. 

Commenting on the success of the day Walter Buschta, SVP Marketing & Client Services, Phocuswright says: "We created the YLS summit to recognise the brilliant young minds that are shaping this industry and we are very proud to have such a great group of people joining this year's event once again." 

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