Winners of the Phocuswright Innovation Platform

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Winners of the Phocuswright Innovation Platform

The companies who presented at Summit and Launch represent the cream of the crop from a large pool of applicants, and Summit showcased the winners of Phocuswright’s 2018 regional events: Battleground: EMEA and Battleground: The Americas.

Sleepbox, which builds micro-hotels that can be installed anywhere for 1/10 the cost of traditional hotels, became the third company to claim three awards for the third year in a row, winning the Award For Travel Innovation – Emerging Category, The General Catalyst Award For Travel Innovation, and the Summit People’s Choice Award, indicating a strong perceived need in the marketplace for more affordable and flexible lodging options. ConnexPay, which integrates both acceptance of credit cards and requesting of payments to travel providers into a single solution, won the Award For Travel Innovation – Startup Category, validating that there is plenty of room for financial innovation in travel. AirHelp, which uses advanced machine learning to process airline claims, won the Launch People’s Choice Award.

Summit winners were chosen by a panel of Dragons comprised of travel and technology experts. The General Catalyst Award for Travel Innovation, which comes with a $100,000 convertible bridge loan, was determined by the Dragons with an increased emphasis on whether the company’s innovation has the potential to create breakthrough value in the travel industry. Brand USA Award selected the winner for their Travel Marketing Innovation award, and OAG selected the winner for their AI Innovation award. Phocuswright Conference attendees voted to determine the People’s Choice Awards for both Summit and Launch.

“We created the Phocuswright Innovation Platform to identify and recognize the entrepreneurs and ideas who are shaping the future of the travel industry,” said Michael Coletta, Phocuswright’s manager, research and innovation. “We were thrilled to bring a more diverse group of companies to the stage than we have in years, featuring many solutions and technologies beyond air, hotel and ground transportation in areas such as identity, safety, luxury, advertising, security, cruise and virtual interlining.

Over 400 innovators have now taken the stages at Phocuswright’s innovation events since the first Travel Innovation Summit in 2008. This esteemed group of companies has brought countless innovations to the market and collectively raised over $3.2B in the process.


Phocuswright is the travel industry research authority on how travelers, suppliers and intermediaries connect. Independent, rigorous and unbiased, Phocuswright fosters smart strategic planning, tactical decision-making and organizational effectiveness.

Phocuswright delivers qualitative and quantitative research on the evolving dynamics that influence travel, tourism and hospitality distribution. Our marketplace intelligence is the industry standard for segmentation, sizing, forecasting, trends, analysis and consumer travel planning behavior. Every day around the world, senior executives, marketers, strategists and research professionals from all segments of the industry value chain use Phocuswright research for competitive advantage.

To complement its primary research in North and Latin America, Europe and Asia, Phocuswright produces several high-profile conferences in the United States and Europe, and partners with conferences in China, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Industry leaders and company analysts bring this intelligence to life by debating issues, sharing ideas and defining the ever-evolving reality of travel commerce.

The company is headquartered in the United States with Asia Pacific operations based in India and local analysts on five continents.

Phocuswright is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northstar Travel Media, LLC. (116 32nd Street, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10001 United States).

Northstar Travel Group is the leading provider of business-to-business news, information, data, transactions and custom content solutions for the travel, meetings and hospitality industries. Brands under the Northstar umbrella include Travel Weekly, Travel Weekly China, Travel Weekly Asia, TravelAge West, Business Travel News, Phocuswright, Meetings & Conventions, M&C China, Web in Travel and Inntopia. Northstar is the industry leader in marketing solutions, custom content communications, content licensing and database management serving the travel and meetings industries. The company produces more than 52 face-to-face events, taking place in North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Northstar is based in Secaucus, NJ, and is a portfolio company of EagleTree Capital.

EagleTree Capital (formerly Wasserstein Partners) is a mid-market private equity and investment company focused on the media and communications, consumer products and water and industrial sectors. The firm manages capital on behalf of institutional and individual investors and is currently investing EagleTree Partners IV. EagleTree Capital is located in New York.