Revv Oakland’s Startup Profile: TravelWits

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Co-founders: Arman Bimatov, Alla Safonova, Maxim Likhachev

Co-founders: Arman Bimatov, Alla Safonova, Maxim Likhachev

What does TravelWits do and what is its mission?
TravelWits.com allows you to book a last minute vacation or getaway much easier than any other travel website. Simply enter your budget, vacation theme, and desired time in transit then our website returns what we call TripKits.

TripKits are pre-built getaways that include the total cost of a trip such as the cost of the flight, hotel, airport parking, and Uber to the resort or hotel. Our website builds TripKits by looking at all transit options such as flying, driving, taking a train or bus, not to mention thousands of hotels and resorts.

People don’t often realize all their options because configuring the total cost of several trips is very time consuming. In addition to building the complete trip, we allow users to purchase the flight, train or bus ticket within the same checkout as the hotel.

TravelWits.com caters to people who want to find new vacation ideas without breaking the bank, or endlessly searching online. As for booking the vacation, TravelWits keep customers informed about pricing changes via email alerts so that when the price is right and moment is right TravelWits allows you to book the entire trip in one single checkout page.

How was the company born?
As founders we personally ran into this issue over and over: every few months we would schedule a weekend getaway, but routinely we had little time or desire to actually plan. Building a website that made it easy to travel last minute has been our main goal, and this came from our personal frustrations and shortcomings with current travel websites.

How long has TravelWits been around?
TravelWits is a young company in the startup phase and it has raised a seed round of funding from Innovation Works. This summer TravelWorks will move out of beta and will launch in four markets. You can checkout the beta product for these markets at:
Getaways from NYC
Getaways from Pittsburgh
Getaways from Boston
Getaways from Washington, DC

Why did you chose to locate in Oakland?
We have close ties to CMU and one of our founders is a CMU research professor. Given, Oakland was a natural fit.

How is Revv Helping Your Business?
Most of all Revv has supported us by offering up an ideal office space in a location that attracts the talent we need. We often work with young engineers, interns and young professionals. Being located in Oakland is helpful to attract these workers.

Oakland Becoming the Next Hot Spot for Tech Startups

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Reasons why Pittsburgh provides a great environment for technological innovation through Oakland.

The Atlantic recently published an article, “How to Create a Tech Startup Scene if You’re Not in Silicon Valley,” that illustrated what makes Pittsburgh “one of the liveliest technology ecosystems in the country.” One of the main reasons is that internationally established companies such as Google, Apple, and Disney Research want to expand their presence in the city, particularly in Oakland. These companies are looking for office space close to renowned universities such as Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Click here to read the full article!

 

 

Pitt Innovation Challenge


The 2014 Pitt Innovation Challenge has entered round #2!  there are 29 semifinalists of nearly 90 entries competing for the final round.  One of these finalist will be the “Peoples Choice Candidate” chosen through online voting through April 14th.  Each team has created an innovative solution to empower individuals to take control of their own health outcomes.  The three finalists will be awarded $100,000 and additional visibility for their projects.

To view the finalists and cast your vote, please click here.

Kiva City Pittsburgh Has Launched

Empowering Small Business. Fueling Job Growth

Pittsburgh joins Little Rock, Detroit, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Newark, the District of Columbia and Richmond, Va., as part of the broader Kiva City program helping small business owners get the financing they need to grow and create jobs.

Kiva Cities are a partnership of local community groups, microfinance organizations and Kiva Zip Trustees working together to connect Kiva lenders to entrepreneurs that they know and trust in their communities.

So, please share the following link to the Kiva City Pittsburgh webpage to help our neighbors achieve their dream: www.kiva.org/Pittsburgh.

PITTSBURGH’S NEW NARRATIVE

A recent Forbes.com article highlighted cities from across the nation that are rebranding, including our ‘Steel City’!

Included here is just a snippet from the article:

  • Pittsburgh typically makes me think about steelworkers, bridges, Terry Bradshaw, and the American Mustache Institute, but the city’s newly elected mayor, Bill Peduto, says that’s changed.

    “For too long Pittsburgh has been viewed as a smoky industrial city but those days are over,” Mayor Peduto told me via email.  ”We have all of the right ingredients to spin innovative new businesses out of our universities, medical centers, and research institutions and attract companies from around the world.”

    Those ingredients are leading to progress, the most recent example coming in late December when Duolingo — one of the city’s startup darlings — was named 2013 iPhone app of the year by Apple.

    Pittsburgh Tribune columnist Eric Heyl notes “high-tech startups undertaken by Carnegie Mellon grad students attracted to the city by Google’s increasing presence” as well as “economic development corporations such as Catalyst Connection and Innovation Works.” Kate Stoltzfus, founder of Yinzpiration.com, cites startup incubators like AlphaLab and The Hustle Den for giving new businesses needed support.

To view the entire article on Forbes.com, please click here.