Indian Startup ‘NotOnMap’ awarded €250K grant by Booking.com
Booking.com announces the 10 sustainable tourism startups that have been awarded grants as part of its 2019 Booking Booster Program Finale in Amsterdam
Today leading digital travel platform Booking.com announced the sustainable tourism startups receiving scaling grants as part of its 2019 Booking Booster accelerator program. Now in its third year, the three-week accelerator program consists of a series of lectures, hands-on workshops and coaching sessions led entirely by Booking.com employees and experts. The program culminates in a final pitch to receive a scaling grant of up to €500k from Booking.com’s €2 million fund in order to help support the next stage of the startups’ projected growth.
The 10 teams of finalists pitched their scaling plans to a live audience and a panel of expert judges in Amsterdam, including 2019 Booking Booster Ambassador Livia Firth, with NotOnMap being awarded among the highest grants of €250,000 for their proposed plans. NotOnMap empowers communities and creates a livelihood for marginalized, vulnerable people in rural areas through the preservation of culture and heritage, connecting travelers with unique, differentiated experiences.
“I am so impressed by the incredible dedication of these amazing startups and the innovative solutions they are developing to protect communities and resources in every corner of the globe,” said Gillian Tans, President and CEO of Booking.com. “We have long believed that technology is a powerful instrument for good, including when it comes to sustainable travel. I’m so proud of each and every one of these passionate changemakers and am looking forward to following their progress and supporting them as they seek to transform their visions into reality, helping to keep the destinations that we all love happy and healthy for decades to come.”
The 10 startups that participated in the 2019 programme hail from 8 different countries and operate collectively across virtually the entire globe. Their businesses also represent a diverse mix of models and solutions, including products that leverage technology to facilitate environmental and wildlife conservation at scale, as well as platforms that empower at-risk communities to thrive through their inclusive approach to tourism.
“In helping travellers to explore and experience more than 148,000 unique destinations all over the world, we are always looking at how we can contribute to the ongoing health of these same destinations so that future generations can continue to enjoy them for years to come. NotOnMap, one of the finalists of the Booster program, is working towards empowering communities and creating a livelihood for marginalized, vulnerable people in rural areas through the preservation of culture and heritage, connecting travelers with unique, differentiated experiences. We are excited to see how this Indian startup will help empower marginalized communities with their innovative solutions and we at Booking.com are happy to support it.” commented Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager India, Sri Lanka & Maldives, Booking.com.
Kumar Anubhav, Founder, NotOnMap said “Booking Booster is the first stepping stone in the life of NotOnMap which has recognized the true potential of our long-term vision and initiative. It's mystical and magical that Booking Booster could identify an organization which was hidden deep inside the rural community of the Himalayas, yet they valued the true potential of our efforts. We will use this grant to boost up the confidence of our team and community and move forward in our journey to make the world a better place. We are thrilled and honoured to be a part of this platform in an endeavour to accomplish our mission.”
Presenting the keynote remarks to kick off the finale to the 2019 Booking Booster, Livia Firth, Founder and Creative Director of Eco-Age and 2019 Booking Booster Ambassador urged everyone to do their part in actively supporting sustainability and innovation in this space: “Sustainability is an ecosystem of moving parts and we all need to play our role. Whoever we are and wherever we work – whether in startups, established companies, policy makers or members of government - we have the power to make a difference every single day. Today we know that we can also make a huge difference when we book a trip”.
The other sustainable tourism startups that are being awarded grants from the 2019 Booking.com Booster Program’s €2 million fund are Avy (Netherlands) for €200k, Clean Travel (Australia) for €100k, Hydrao (France) for €100k, I Like Local (Netherlands) for €100k, IMPULSE Travel (Colombia) for €400k, Okra Solar (Australia) for €400k, Picha Eats (Malaysia) for €175k, SASANE Sisterhood Trekking and Travel (Nepal) for €175k and Sumba Hospitality Foundation (Indonesia) for €100k.
All the participating startups, whether receiving a grant or not, will receive a year of ongoing mentoring and coaching from Booking.com experts. This includes opportunities and access to collaborate with Booking.com on potential innovation initiatives and experiments to help accelerate future growth for the participating scale-ups, including projects undertaken together with the Booking Cares Volunteer Program.
In addition to the Booking.com scaling grants that were awarded, for the second year in a row Amazon Web Services (AWS) will support the Booking.com Booster finalists by giving them the possibility to join its Startups program: AWS Activate. With this program, AWS provides startups with the resources they need to quickly get started on AWS – including credits, training, and support – to bring their ideas to life.
In helping travelers to explore and experience more than 148,000 unique destinations all over the world, Booking.com also seeks to contribute to the ongoing health of these same destinations so that future generations can continue to enjoy them for years to come. Together with the Booking Cares Fund and the Booking Cares Labs, the Booking Booster Program sits alongside Booking.com’s internal volunteer program, where employees have long partnered with local organizations on projects that help improve destinations worldwide. Together these initiatives makeup and further expand Booking.com’s commitment to make a positive impact on the global tourism industry. For more information about upcoming programs and opportunities, please visit the Booking Cares website.
Established in 1996 in Amsterdam, Booking.com B.V. has grown from a small Dutch start-up to one of the largest travel e-commerce companies in the world. Part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), Booking.com now employs more than 17,000 employees in over 200 offices in 70 countries worldwide.
With a mission to empower people to experience the world, Booking.com invests in digital technology that helps take the friction out of travel. At Booking.com, we connect travelers with the world’s largest selection of incredible places to stay, including everything from apartments, vacation homes, and family-run B&Bs to 5-star luxury resorts, tree houses and even igloos. The Booking.com website and mobile apps are available in 43 languages, offer over 28 million total reported listings, including more than 5.8 million listings of homes, apartments and other unique places to stay, and covers more than 148,000 destinations in 229 countries and territories worldwide.
Each day, more than 1.5 million room nights are reserved on our platform. So, whether traveling for business or leisure, customers can instantly book their ideal place to stay quickly and easily with Booking.com, without booking fees and backed up by our promise to price match. Via our customer experience team, customers can reach Booking.com 24/7 for assistance and support in over 43 languages, any time of the day or night.