February 20, 2012
Proving that you don’t have to be San Francisco/Silicon Valley-based to have a successful startup, eTripTrader, which we showcased at our first Tech Cocktail mixer in Boise, Idaho last year, has grown their company every year since their launch 10 years ago. They support over 17,000 aircrew and ground-based employees through their SkedFlex and Crew Companion product and just entered into an agreement with Navtech to become the worldwide distributor to the airline industry.
The Navtech partnershp is truly a watershed moment for eTripTrader, as Navtech has over 300 employees and provides crew planning, flight planning software and navigational charts to over 400 airlines and over 3000 aviation customers. Tom LaJoie, founder and CEO of eTripTrader, took some time out of his schedule last week to share with me how they landed such a big partnership and what it means for the future of their company.
Tech Cocktail: Had you been pursuing partnerships with airline software companies for a while?
Tom LaJoie: We have been pursuing partnerships within the airline industry for about a year now. We’ve conducted in-depth evaluations of a few companies to find out they weren’t the right fit. In October, we partnered with ELP Aviation which is a small company providing crew planning consulting services and computer based training to the airline industry. The Navtech partnership is on a whole new level though.
Tech Cocktail: How long did it take to secure the partnership with NavTech?
LaJoie: Navtech reached out to us in August to propose working together so I guess it took nearly six months.
Tech Cocktail: Why did you want to partner with them (rather than another company)?
LaJoie: Together, Navtech’s crew planning products and eTripTrader’s SkedFlex and Crew Companion deliver a comprehensive package to meet the scheduling needs of our airline customers. After making that determination, the next logical step was to enter a sustainable partnership that will drive mutual long term profitability. Under Navtech’s halo of prestige and international exposure, a higher percentage of the aviation industry will be able to not only improve their bottom line, but will do so with a happier workforce. Now, THAT is what I call win/win!
Tech Cocktail: What does this mean for future partnerships and the future of eTripTrader?
LaJoie: This partnership certainly fuels and strengthens our position in the market. While increasing the brand awareness and equity, the speed at which we enter certain markets, particularly internationally, is almost instant. While I’m not sure we’ll see that mythical hockey stick change in our growth curve, it will undoubtedly increase and we are ready to meet that challenge with an extremely talented core group of employees and look forward to expanding that team as the need arises.
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