Birmingham-based travel technology business, You. Smart. Thing. (YST) has received £250,000 via MEIF Maven Debt Finance, alongside £250,000 from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The funding will support the company’s ambitious expansion plans, enabling it to further develop its platform, fuel sales and marketing activities and create 29 new jobs in the Midlands by 2024.
YST has developed a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) ‘Travel Assistant’ platform for destination and management, which allows consumers to plan their journey to a particular venue or event and is completely free to use via its website or app. By embedding the Travel Assistant into existing customer touchpoints, its licensees can offer up-to-date personalised travel assistance, manage travel demand and curate the visitor experience to destinations, venues and events. Users are kept up to date in real time with any changes or disruption to their journey and are notified of alternative routes or travel options.
The global destination management software market was projected to grow from $5.7 billion in 2019 to $11.4 billion by 2024, driven by the growing need for software to plan, manage, and automate the activities associated with venues and events throughout their lifecycle. Since the pandemic this need has become more acute. As it helps the cultural sector navigate its recovery from the pandemic, YST is seeing additional un-met demand for a system that can allow transport operators to effectively manage capacity, a feature that it is now developing for Transport for Wales and Transport for West Midlands metro services.
Alongside a UK wide roll-out and plans for international expansion, the team at YST are currently working with Coventry City Council on a bespoke Travel Assistant deployment for the 2021 UK City of Culture programme of events.
The company is led by Founder and CEO, Chris Thompson, whose career spans digital product development, marketing and technology. Chris is supported by COO, Andrew Steele, who has 20 years’ experience managing intelligent mobility software product development.
Sajid Sabir, Investment Associate at Maven Capital Partners, comments: “Travel Assistant is an innovative product delivering a genuinely personalised travel experience. The business is backed by an experienced management team who have in-depth sector knowledge and technical know-how to drive the business forward and we look forward to working with Chris and the team as they execute their ambitious growth plans.”
Chris Thompson, Founder and CEO of ‘You. Smart. Thing.’, said: "The funding will enable us to continue to invest in our platform, which is tailored around optimisation of resources, improved customer service and access to data that enables better marketing and service delivery for destinations and transport operators. Thanks to the team at Maven, we are continuing our upward trajectory and look forward to extending our team to help us meet our goals.”
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