The WIT 2016 Bootcamp held a day before the main WIT 2016 Conference, is the meet, match & coach place for startups, innovators, investors and travel industry professionals.

Learn what’s hot and new in the digital travel space. Join in conversations that will offer up ideas and tips on how you can improve your business as you hear from some of the most innovative minds in travel.

As always, it will feature the WIT Startup Pitch, in which selected startups will give a 5-minute pitch each to our panel of investors/coaches. Finalists will go on to pitch live at the Grand Finals on Oct 19 at the WIT 2016 Conference. (This year's Startup Pitch is powered by Travelport Labs and the winner will win a place in the Travelport Labs Accelerator programme, which comes with seed funding of US$30,000.)

A ticket to the WIT 2016 Conference includes access to the WIT Bootcamp. To attend the WIT Bootcamp, you must indicate your attendance on the registration form as seats are limited.

Tickets to attend only the WIT 2016 Bootcamp can also be purchased separately here.



Oct 17, 2016

Venue: One Farrer Hotel & Spa, Level 6, Grand Ballroom

Checking In

08.00 - 09.00

Kick Off

Revolving around the theme of “Reimagine”, this year's Bootcamp delves into stories of how founders and co-founders have reimagined their businesses. Plus of course, market and product updates from our cast of specialists, investor updates, lots of coaching in between and our WIT Startup Pitch which comes with a prize worth US$30,000 in seed funding from Travelport Labs and US$120,000 worth of cloud credits from IBM.

Yeoh Siew Hoon, Founder, WIT

09.00 - 09.10

Founder’s Story 1: Tales of Curry & Commerce

Find out how an Englishman, with no experience in travel, but a love for curry and rugby, ended up in India and went on to build one of India's biggest and most enduring OTAs. If you can make it in India, you can make it anywhere.

Stuart Crighton, Co-founder & CEO, Cleartrip

09.10 - 09.30

Founder’s Story 2: A Tale of Yin & Yang 1

In Chinese philosophy, Yin and Yang describe how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Find out how the forces of Yin and Yang played out to create this five-year-old startup from Melbourne that's literally going places.

Rod Cuthbert, CEO & Michael Cameron, Co-founder, Rome2rio

09.30 - 09.45

Stuff You Should Know (Part 1)

A: The importance of mobile first approach to capture the Chinese market

An insight into mobile technologies development across multiples fields in China, including e-commerce, online payment and social media and understand how these developments have helped shape China's online and mobile travel industry? Sharing on how a mobile first approach can position your business well in the Chinese market.

Alex Shen, Strategic Partnership Manager, GetYourGuide

B: The Pain Points in Airline Distribution

No one knows this topic better than this executive who's worked in aviation in Asia for a great part of his career, including being the former commercial head for Scoot. We've asked him to share the pain points ie the opportunities if you're a startup wanting to understand the airline space better.

Steven Greenway, Deputy CEO, UFly Alliance

09.45 - 10.05


10.05 - 10.25

Founder’s Story 3: The Pros and Cons of Being a Pioneer in Meta-Search in Asia

Timing is everything in life and business, it is said. Sometimes first movers do not have all the advantages. But how do you stay the course and turn it into an advantage? What lessons do you learn along the way? A story about timing, perseverance and the long game.

Ross Veitch, CEO & Co-founder, Wego
Interviewer: Timothy Hughes, Vice President, Business Development, Agoda

Eye Over Asia - Best of Phocuswright Insights

Maggie Rauch, Phocuswright, shares her pick of the trends in Asia.

10.25 - 10.35


10.35 - 10.55

Stuff You Should Know (Part 2)


A: The ways and “weis” of Chinese Travellers: Their social media and shopping behaviours

Shopping is what they love to do, and shopping is what they do. In 2015, Chinese travellers who went abroad spent a total of US$229 billion on shopping, leisure and other activities. Shopping is by far the biggest bucket and Chinese shoppers account for one third of all tax free shopping globally. With the expansion of the country’s middle class and desire to travel, these numbers will accelerate. Vanessa Chen, who leads business development for the tourism finance startup, Tourego, and was previously the investor relations officer for Sina Weibo, sheds light on Chinese tourists’ shopping habits as well as tips on how you can influence them through social media (Weibo & Weixin).

Vanessa Chen, Co-founder and Business Development Director, Tourego


B: Insights Into the Korean Online Travel Market

We're seeing the emergence of meta in South Korea with the dominant search player Naver playing an active role and brands such as KAYAK, Trivago, Skyscanner and Hotelscombined making their presence felt. Local startups are also emerging. The OTA space is also getting hyper competitive with players like Interpark, Ticket Monster (Tmon) and TideSquare vying for positioning. An update on the online travel market in one of North Asia's most dynamic markets. 

Hyunsoo Cho, Co-founder, Allstay, South Korea

10.55 - 11.15

Founder’s Story 4: The Story of A Brand's Karma

Like all startups with a dream, they had one. Then they realised just because you dream, doesn't mean you can make it a business reality. So they went from B2C to B2B and focused on hospitality, helping hoteliers make sense of all the reviews out there. Now it's time for a new dream, how will they make this a reality, virtual or otherwise?

Morris Sim & Mario Jobbe, Co-founders, Circos Brand Karma

11.15 - 11.35

Founder’s Story 5: You’re Never Too Old To Start One

Travel is about breaking barriers. This executive has been trying to break barriers in airline distribution his entire career and less than two years ago, created a new startup which is breaking barriers in low cost airline distribution. He proves that when it comes to passion and perseverance, age is not only a state of mind but it is in fact, wisdom and experience.

Timothy O’Neil-Dunne, Co-founder, Air Black Box
Interviewer: Martin Symes

11.35 - 11.55

Sabre Destination Hack Day Presentation

Anupam Bokil, Vice President, Technology, Sabre Travel Network Asia Pacific

11.55 - 12.05

Founder's Story 6: Building A Unicorn

She returned to China after a corporate career with Expedia and promptly launched a startup, Tujia, focused on vacation rentals in China, which has become one of China's success stories. She shares her journey as an entrepreneur and what it's taken to build a unicorn in the world's largest travel market. 

Melissa Yang, Co-founder, Tujia

12.05 - 12.20

Pain Points in Corporate Travel

Veronique Lescaut, Senior Director, Global Partners Network, Asia Pacific, Carlson Wagonlit Travel

12.20 - 12.30


12.30 - 13.10

Coaching Circles

We break out into groups gathered around the people and/or topics you most want to learn from. Pick your leaders/topics and you have up to one hour to learn from our cast of coaches and experts.

1. Timothy Hughes, Vice President, Business Development, Agoda
2. Hugo Burge, CEO, Momondo Group + Stephan Ekbergh, CEO, Travelstart
3. Melissa Yang, Co-founder, Tujia + Alex Shen, Strategic Partnership Manager, GetYourGuide
4. Fritz Demopoulos + Douglas Khoo, Co-founders, Qunar
5. Rod Cuthbert, CEO + Michael Cameron, Co-founder, Rome2rio
6. Morris Sim + Mario Jobbe, Co-founders, Circos Brand Karma
7. Timothy O’Neil-Dunne, Co-founder, Air Black Box + Steven Greenway, Deputy CEO, UFly Alliance

8. Bobby Healy, CTO, CarTrawler + Greg Schulze, Senior Vice President, Expedia Group
9. Emilie Couton, Vice President, Digital Marketing, AccorHotels Asia Pacific + Veronique Lescaut, Senior Director, Global Partners Network, Asia Pacific, Carlson Wagonlit Travel

13.10 - 14.10

The Story of HotelsCombined: The Last of The Independents

Born in France to a Syrian dad and English mum, Hichame Assi was employee No 8 at OctopusTravel in London in 2000. He joined HotelsCombined in Sydney in 2010, becoming employee No 15. He's been there since, became COO three years ago and was appointed CEO this year. The story of leading a hotel meta-search business that is, to date, still self-funded.

Hichame Assi, CEO, HotelsCombined

14.20 - 14.40

Tech/Product/Sector Updates

Quick 10-min bursts of inspiration giving updates around new technology and product.

AR/VR – George Mitchell, Co-founder, Circos Brand Karma
Smart Use of Data – Michael Cameron, Co-founder, Rome2Rio
Offline To Online Innovation - PATW Introduction: Mitsuru Saito, Principal Product Manager, Travel, Rakuten Inc

14.40 - 15.20


15.20 - 15.40

Founder's Story 7: Tale of Yin and Yang 2

It can be lonely at the top, especially if you are a sole founder, as Clement Wong, formerly a Phocuswright analyst, discovered when he launched his own startup. Find out how finding a co-founder saved his startup and how creative conflict and collaboration can put your business on the right track.

Clement Wong & Blanca Menchaca, Co-founders, BeMyGuest

15.40 - 15.55

Investors' Update

Investors share their take on the travel startup landscape in Asia Pacific, and what’s holding their interest.

Aya Yamato, Team Lead, Travel Investment, Recruit
Hugo Burge, HOWZAT Partners
Kuo-Yi Lim, Managing Partner, Monk's Hill Ventures
Sugiharto Widjaja, Equity Investment Analyst, Capital World Investors

Moderator: Fritz Demopoulos, CEO, Queen’s Road Capital

15.55 - 16.20

WIT Startup Pitch, powered by Travelport Labs Accelerator

Our annual startup competition featuring a shorlist of candidates pitching their ideas to our panel of judges and coaches. Three will go on to pitch live at the Grand Finals on Oct 19 and the winner wins aplace in the Travelport Labs Accelerator programme, which comes with seed funding of US$30,000.

Aya Yamato, Team Lead, Travel Investment, Recruit
Fritz Demopoulos, CEO, Queen’s Road Capital
Kuo-Yi Lim, Managing Partner, Monk’s Hill Ventures
Melissa Yang, Co-founder, Tujia
Rod Cuthbert, CEO, Rome2rio
Jason Nash, GVP Global Marketing & Product Incubation, Travelport
Hugo Burge, CEO, Momondo Group
Douglas Khoo, Co-founder, Qunar
Sugiharto Widjaja, Equity Investment Analyst, Capital World Investors


16.20 - 17.20

Founders' Duet: Perfecting The Bird of Paradise &  Why I Gave Up My Independence

In this session, we bring two founders together – one who seems to like Other People's Money and another who only decided to raise funds after 10 years of going it alone.  A year after he sold Travelmob to HomeAway, Turochas Fuad is back at another startup, this time the co-working and co-living space, in his quest to find The Bird of Paradise. Meanwhile Stephan Ekbergh, after 10 years of “bachelorhood”, took in US$40m funding from Amadeus Capital Ventures. At the time, he said, “I’ve enjoyed 10 years of bachelorhood. I want to get married now.” How is the marriage working out?

Turochas Fuad, Founder, Spacemob
Stephan Ekbergh, CEO, Travelstart

17.20 - 17.45


Announcement of the WIT Startup Pitch 2016 Finalists & Closing


Cocktails, hosted by One Farrer Hotel & Spa

Venue: Sunset Bar & Poolside


Note: Programme is subject to change.