One of the nice perks of editing this blog is that you get to speak with quite a few interesting entrepreneurs, this is the case of the chat I recently had with Naren Shaam, the founder of GoEuro.
Although GoEuro's activity is not limited to air travel, I thought I would write a few lines about it, since it is dealing with an aspect of travel that still has not been fully solved in Europe, that of inter-modal bookings.
At first sight, GoEuro works just like any other travel meta-search booking engine, but look closer and you will notice how it could also be understood as a sort of "itinerary manager", providing guidance and options for the whole journey, including ground transportation options such as car, train and bus, not just the plane ticket.
This is particularly useful if your journey begins or ends somewhere other than a main airport or city. In Europe, where the ground transportation market is fragmented across many operators that have often distribution channels of variable quality and efficiency this comes particularly handy.
There are plenty of options to book a trip between main cities, but let's say you need to book a trip between two cities that are not well connected by air, so some legs of the trips are going to involve ground travel...look at the example, if you are travelling between Lleida (a city of some 100,000 inhabitants in Western Catalonia) and Leipzig, a mid-sized town in central Germany.
On GoEuro, in addition to the flight to Germany out of Barcelona airport, you can also check and book what bus and train options are there to get you to and from the airports to your final destination.
Most bus and train operators have a very domestic focus, so GoEuro makes it possible to visualize and book them in one place.
It is interesting that, at a time when European unity seems to be more questioned than ever, Naren Shaam points out how the idea for GoEuro came up as he visited Europe as a tourist and was puzzled by the difficulty in organizing his overland itinerary by using different national ground transportation operators. So, GoEuro was born to provide a pan-European platform that brought all of them together..
Quite a few people must be finding it useful, since the company, that was founded only three years ago, has been growing quite fast, as it employes now 172 people at its Berlin headquarters and has received over $76M in funding from the likes of Goldman Sachs and several venture capital firms