Winding Tree is a blockchain-powered travel marketplace connecting top airlines, hotel chains, and corporations without the cumbersome presence of traditional intermediaries.
We’re transforming the industry by disrupting the outdated mindsets and antiquated technology that are holding it in the past and building the next generation in travel tech. We envision travel becoming a true peer-to-peer economy that welcomes creativity and innovation in the industry.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
Our Co-Founder had built a travel startup called Roomstorm out of Y Combinator only to encounter the travel industry’s dark little secret – that a handful of intermediaries control all travel. These middlemen charge extortionate fees and hold back all innovation in the space.
We wanted to create an alternative. It had to be censorship-resistant so travel businesses could join despite us not being the monopolies they have grown accustomed to. This led us to adopting Ethereum.
We published our manifesto in 2016 about how building a decentralized marketplace could radically alter the travel industry. We got over 1000 responses from travel executives offering support. They agreed that the industry needs to change. That’s when we launched the world’s first blockchain travel marketplace – Winding Tree.
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How has the company evolved during the pandemic?
Travel took a massive hit at the start of 2020, so much so that our newsletter for travel professionals dropped from 70k subscribers to 35k due to layoffs. With so many travel companies in panic mode, things were not looking good.
On the bright side, the lull meant that previously hard-to-change spaces, such as corporate travel, felt compelled to try new and better approaches. With the business decline, they also had to find ways to cut unnecessary costs. Cutting the layers and layers of intermediation was a no-brainer. We also started finding interest from companies outside of travel looking for decentralized verification tools, like our self-sovereign identity feature ORGiD.
What can we hope to see from Winding Tree in the future?
The marketplace is up and running. We’ve got some major travel suppliers and buyers on board. Our focus is now on making the user experience friendlier for new entrants. We are producing exciting tools for small boutique hotels and establishing strategic partnerships with fellow companies looking to make travel better and more accessible. Think of Winding Tree as the internet of travel.
We provide the rails where businesses connect directly without intermediaries. That opens the door for a vast array of new solutions for solving the old problems in travel.