Portfolio Spotlight – AirHelp Gets Travelers Paid for Delayed and Cancelled Flights

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Every year, millions of air passengers experience long flight delays or cancelled flights. Horror stories abound from travelers who have missed weddings, cruise ships, final goodbye’s and more because they were stuck in the airport.

The USDOT and the European Commission of Transportation have implemented air passenger rights that protects the traveler when airlines screw up their flight. Unfortunately, the airlines have made it very difficult for travelers to claim compensation and most just give up.

AirHelp solves this problem by taking care of all the paperwork, communications with airline, payment, and putting money in traveler’s pockets.

Utilizing software to automate and personalize reimbursements is a growing sector. Fixed, Paribus, and others are cashing in on opportunities for consumers to get reimbursed for parking tickets and price changes.

Galvanize Ventures invested in 2014 based upon the  the massive potential of solving this problem for airline passengers. Every year, 8 million passengers are entitled to compensation from the airlines, but only .06% get the compensation because they don’t know their rights and the airlines don’t inform them. Average compensation due per passenger is $600, making this a $3.3 billion market opportunity.

AirHelp launched its service in 2013 with a simple form that passengers could fill out to start the claim process. Shortly after, they were accepted into the prestigious YC accelerator program for the Winter ‘14 class. To make the process even simpler for travelers, AirHelp built an iOS and Android app to allow claims to be filed easily while still traveling. AirHelp’s official launch received media attention from NBC and Fox in 2014, and Venture Beat touted them as one of the 5 best startups at their demo day.  AirHelp was also named one of Business Insider’s top 25 startups in NYC.

Soon after demo day, AirHelp closed a round of funding with investors including Ev Williams, Naval Ravikant, Khosla Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital and Galvanize.

Since raising its seed round, AirHelp has continued to grow its user base and brand while improving the platform. They’ve been strategically growing their audience through creative content marketing, including this infographic about the best days to fly. The product now has the ability to sync with anyone’s email and automatically notify travelers if they are eligible for compensation.

The biggest claim? AirHelp helped 29 highschoolers from Copenhagen recoup $19,000. Since inception, AirHelp has helped customers claim $15 million. For every successful claim, AirHelp takes a 25% commission. AirHelp has streamlined the claim process to the point that it estimates airlines could save $324 million a year using its platform, which may be a future source of revenue.

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The founder’s of AirHelp are experts in startups and technology.

Henrik Zillmer is the CEO and Co-Founder.  Henrik is an experienced entrepreneur who created more than 15 startups in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.. This includes the €1bn valuated Zalora, which were part of the world’s largest e-commerce incubator, Rocket Internet. Before starting his first company, Henrik worked at UNICEF in Copenhagen and as an IT consultant in Silicon Valley. He has a Masters of Science (focusing on e-business) from Copenhagen Business School but has also studied in Hong Kong and New York.

Besides being a CEO and product manager, Henrik is a First Lieutenant (by the age of 22!), traveler,  kite surfer, marathon runner, and standup comedian. He also co-founded Project Gateway, a worldwide community of location independent entrepreneurs.

Nicolas Michaelsen is the CMO and Co-Founder. Nicolas is a serial entrepreneur and marketeer that has previously built early stage startups as well as advised some of the worlds biggest brands such as Adidas on branding, go-to-market, and growth strategies.

He is also a frequently used keynote speaker, panelist and lecturer at schools and conferences such as Cornell, Web Summit, Collision, Venture Cup and the biggest tech meetup in the world, NYTM. Throughout his teens and early twenties Nicolas was an internationally renowned dj and producer who has performed all over Europe and the US.

Greg Roodt is the CTO and Co-Founder. Greg is a software engineer and team builder that has led in wide variety of industries. When he’s not building products people love, he’s kitesurfing!

AirHelp is currently in conversations with a variety of investors about a Series A round of funding.

If you’re passionate about saving travelers money, they’ve also got a wide range of job openings in NYC.

Go sign up for AirHelp today for free to find out if you should be compensated for any of flights you’ve taken in the last 3 years, and automatically notified about claims in the future.