A Sydney-based technology startup, SkyBuys, has been selected for the global aerospace accelerator program Airbus BizLab in Germany.
The 26-year-old founder, Alec Kemmery, could fly a plane before he could drive a car. He also has a Masters (Science & Technology) with an aviation major from the University of NSW.
The SkyBuys App, currently in beta testing, allows a traveller do all their duty free shopping, linking purchases online, in-flight or in-store and arranging delivery or pickup.
Kemmery came up with the idea for the app because he couldn’t understand why the benefits of e-commerce weren’t available in duty free.
And the opportunity is enormous. About one-third of travellers buy duty free with the average spend at $100. This means the global market is about $US70 billion.
“The Airbus BizLab program is an amazing opportunity for us, and will give us access to a world leading manufacturer, along with international airlines and other industry partners,” says Kemmery.
“SkyBuys works with airlines to grow ancillary revenue, and to improve the passenger journey. So I believe we are a great fit for Airbus BizLab, and we look forward to adding value to their clients too.”
Airbus BizLab is a global aerospace accelerator where startups selected from around the world and Airbus intrapreneurs work together. The program includes funding to cover expenses and the option of investment into the startup.
The six-month program gives startups access to Airbus business and technical coaches, experts and mentors. Each program also includes a demo day with Airbus decision makers, venture capitalists, airline customers and industry partners.
Kemmery was based at Sydney’s fintech hub Stone & Chalk in 2016 when he developed the idea for the app.
Through Stone & Chalk, he met the founders of the online shopping and payments platform RainCheck, now shareholders in SkyBuys, and worked with them to develop an app which allows airline passengers to search and purchase duty free items on a trip or in transit.
“The main problem with duty free is that passengers are not really aware of what options are available to them in terms of best price, best location to collect duty free and how much they are actually allowed to purchase,” says Kemmery.
“Currently, duty free shopping is also time consuming and hit and miss. Sometimes duty free shops are not open when you travel and sometimes items are not on the shelf. And then there are always stories about certain goods and alcohol not being allowed to be carried onto flights. SkyBuys will change all of this.”
The Airbus BizLab starts October 4.