[S1,E12] “Travel is yet just an MVP” – YC alum Roomstorm disrupts the archaic travel space

Did you know that today hotel’s rooms availabilities need to be uploaded in excel spreadsheets, in order to submit updates to some of the biggest booking services? Maksim Izmaylov is a co-founder and CEO of Roomstorm – a company that helps airlines and hotels deal with booking emergencies.

Maksim’s B2B business targets hotels and airlines to help them reduce negative effects of overbooking or flight cancellations and deliver great customer experience. Also, Maksim is on his fantastic mission to disrupt travel industry by introducing automatization in various fields.

Having been born and raised in Russia, how did Maksim manage to start a business in Silicon Valley? How did he make a living before his project really took off? How did he make it into Y Combinator and what did the program help him with the most? How did he find first customers, including big, national airline? Why does he think travel industry is archaic and how is he going to change it? — Watch the interview to find out!

A lovely shout out to our partner Runway Incubator and to our sponsor UnStock — an on demand community and marketplace for mobile videographers.

Here are some highlights from the interview:

  • Maksim applied the old classic method in making a start in Silicon Valley:

    “I started to go to all sorts of meetups and just meeting people, figuring out: ‘How is it done?’, ‘How do you start a company?’”

  • Maksim applied to YC more than once. Here is what matters in the startup application the most, in addition to the founding team:

    “There is a number of variables they are paying attention to: It’s growth, revenue or number of customers, it’s also market size – the bigger the better.”

  • When being in YC, you can expect being able to talk to the world’s most famous startup founders:

    “YC helps in terms of a company structure, how the legal entity should work. It’s very inspiring – each week they invite a prominent speaker. I remember Mark Zuckerberg and Max Levchin from PayPal speaking there and when you see such a person every week, you just naturally work harder. And I like that.”

  • Some investors may be skeptical about serious intensions and real commitment to the business if a founder devoted only part-time work or less to it during some period. But for Maksim the answer would be simple:

    “It was easy for me, because if I didn’t work for a company here in United States, I would not have been able to be here.”

  • Travel is way behind the technology, available solutions and automatization:

    “Right now we just have an MVP of travel. There are a lot of companies working on awesome and crazy ideas, but they are just nibbling on the side of this huge pie. The problem is that the infrastructure is broken. It’s insane, it’s more than 10 years behind. My job as a citizen of the world is to change it and update it.”

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