It's been an important year at Voyager HQ! When your mission is empowering startups to connect the global travel industry, measurements of success aren’t always the traditional ones. The community has grown into a larger global presence with each passing month - it now spans 1,352 startup founder members from 271 cities around the world - which means that, no matter where you are, there’s likely a Voyager in a city near you!
As the membership base has expanded, so has our impact. We met some incredible, impressive businesses and talented founders this year, inspiring us and furthering our excitement to be working in this industry. We strived to create value throughout the year no matter where members are located, by organizing events and making introductions far and wide. In 2018, we estimate that over 15,000 conversations were initiated between Voyager HQ’s many pitch events, office hours, meetings, workshops, flurries of email intros, Slack posts and workspace interactions, making for the community’s most connected year to date.
Some other COMMUNITY milestones of 2018:
In autumn of 2016, we opened up our co-working and event space to the New York City travel community, which looked like this at the time:
We’ve come a long way! The Clubhouse is now the home of over 75 members across 20 startups, and seats were sold out for the second half of 2018. Of course, digital members can still use a flex desk at any time with your 3 free co-working days - or if you'd like to join us at work every day, add your name to the dedicated workspace waitlist to be alerted when space opens!
VHQ closed out the year with 58 events hosted, and plans for even more in 2019. Oof! We saw a lot of event firsts this year that would later lead into a global events expansion: Bay area founders came out for the first-ever Travel Founders Breakfast in San Francisco in June, Hotel Pitch Night in September was our first vertical-specific pitch event, and a Travel Pitch Night in October, which brought together 100 travel professionals in the Bay Area, was the largest-scale Voyager HQ event ever held outside of New York City.
Big shoutout to the winners of this year’s Travel Pitch Nights:
Speaking of firsts, 2018 also saw the launch of our flagship conference, the Travel Disruption Summit, in May. The application-based event, affectionately referred to as TDS, paired the brightest minds from both the startup and corporate sides to network, hear insights from top travel leaders, and discuss the future of their individual sectors at focused roundtable discussions. In 2019, the Summit will take place in NYC on Wednesday, May 22nd - with triple the attendee numbers, twice the roundtables and new vertical-specific track programming. Mark your calendars!
Voyager HQ’s greatest value is to provide a hub for innovation, and we take that role seriously. To that end, we recently announced plans to expand live events beyond New York. This new initiative, pronounced “dot events,” will bring offline value and direct engagement between startups, local investors and partners to other local travel tech communities. This year, VHQ events will be officially popping up in San Francisco, CA, and Boston, MA (in partnership with JetBlue Technology Ventures), with more to be announced soon!
We’re still on the lookout for Event Directors to run Boston’s programming - so if you’re interested, or would like to organize events in another city, apply to be an Event Director here!
We also grew in size ourselves this year, and expanded the team to six to support these initiatives. In addition to the tried and true:
John Matson - Managing Director
Jenny Silber - Community Director
Gerardo Hernández - Marketing Manager
We were elevated by:
Apryl Goodwin - Office Manager
Matt Blance-Stephany - Business Development Manager
Vlad Nabat - Brand Designer
On behalf of the Voyager HQ team, we extend our gratitude to the many, many startups doing incredible work in travel innovation - as well as our partners for their ongoing support in 2018. As we look to the year ahead, we’re excited for the continued growth of the community and the forward movement of our amazing industry. Here’s to a fruitful and more connected 2019!
P.S. We’re gearing up for an even more active 2019, so bookmark our events page and follow us on social to stay current.