June 12 2019  |  Connectivity & Satellites

BA flight a platform for start-up business ideas

By Rick Lundstrom

Judges view the pitch for Pruvo, a website that where people can search for hotel price drops secret deals

A British Airways flight touched down at London Heathrow from San Francisco this morning, and during the flight the airline hosted the "Pitch on a Plane" competition using onboard Wi-Fi.

The airline joined up with Founders Forum to give five start-ups the chance to pitch their ideas to judges on board the flight including Alex Cruz, British Airways Chairman and CEO and leading tech entrepreneurs, investors and CEOs.

Using British Airways’ onboard high-speed Wi-Fi, the start-ups were on the ground in the UK while a team of judges cruised at 30,000 feet on flight BA284. Experts on the judging panel included the founder of Pandora Radio, GM of Robotics at Google X and Taryn Southern, artist and filmmaker who was one of the first on YouTube.

Following the pitches and a question and answer session, the judges chose three finalists who will pitch their idea face-to-face at the Founders Forum in London on June 13.

The entries were focused on air travel innovation and the ideas they presented included a solo travel app, airline inventory management using blockchain technology and a new jet engine design. The top three finalists are:

Tribd– An app that connects solo travelers with others who are adventure travelers and active sports enthusiasts.

Pruvo–The website aims to save travelers money even after they have booked a hotel room. It searches for hotel price drops secret deals.

Pluto – A travel insurance app that claims to be easy to understand, hassle-free and there when customers need it.

“British Airways has a long-standing history of driving innovation in the aviation industry and it remains a huge focus for us this year,” said Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of British Airways. “With the initiation of our BA2119 program focused on fuels, customer experience and careers of the future, as well as a £6.5 billion investment designed to take British Airways to 2020 and beyond.”

The winner of Pitch on a Plane will receive 100,000 On Business points in British Airways’ business loyalty program (equivalent to four return flights in World Traveller Plus to New York JFK from London Heathrow), 100,000 Avios, a profile in Business Lifemagazine and a business meeting with Brent Hoberman, founder of lastminute.com and the Founders network.

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