Why ClaimCompass Is The Easiest Way To Get Compensation For A Delayed Or Cancelled Flight

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Ever had a delayed or cancelled flight? Then you'll know the procedures of claiming a refund can be very painful. ClaimCompass' aim is to simplify this process - Alexander Sumin explains how:

Why ClaimCompass Is The Easiest Way To Get Compensation For A Delayed Or Cancelled FlightDescribe ClaimCompass in 50 words or less.

ClaimCompass is the simplest way of filing a claim and receiving compensation for delayed, cancelled or overbooked flights.

How did you come up with idea?

As cheesy as this may sound – personal experience:

I was flying to Zurich last summer and (fortunately) my flight got delayed, 3.5h or so. Earlier that same week, I was having lunch with a former colleague of mine, who comes from a legal background and she had mentioned something about compensation for delayed or cancelled flights. I called her from the airport and we ended up talking for an hour, and as it turns out she had already began thinking of implementing this into a business. That’s where it all began, and yes – I was the first client to test the service.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

One of our key goals is to sustain a constant monthly growth rate of at least 10%, measured in terms of new claims submitted, which is naturally directly related with our revenue. We also monitor very closely our clients’ behavior, completion rates, as well as the performance of different acquisition channels.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

Bootstrapped. Funding is extremely important, but it shouldn’t come at all cost. We’ve actually turned down a few investment offers, some of which came too early, others from investors that wouldn’t be a good fit. This gave us time to clear up our model and overall vision for the company, as well as think in terms of “survival mode”, making sure we make it to the next day with or without funding.

I think this entire experience made us much more “fundable” and we’re now ready for a seed round, ideally looking for backing from a strategic angel investor with connections in the travel industry. We built a long-term strategic plan, and have a detailed breakdown of exactly what we need, what are we going to spend it on and what results it should generate.

What were the biggest challenges you faced building your startup?

I don’t think they ever go away, they just change over time. For example, in the beginning we had to figure out a way to enter and sustain four totally different markets. The way our core message was perceived by our target varied so greatly, that we even considered shutting down and keeping but one market. I’m talking being perceived as anything from a travel agency to a scam. That’s why your key to survival is being very flexible and constantly experimenting until you find what your client wants and how you can link it with what can actually deliver.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

I don’t think you can ever be sure of that, but you can put up a pretty good fight. In the case of ClaimCompass, we concentrated on two things: making sure we have a strong and consistent message which resonates with our target audiences, and creating a market-entry barrier, such as signing exclusivity contracts with strategic partners. We’re also very keen on providing the best customer service, and even if a case doesn’t fit our business model, we’ll still do as much as we can to help a passenger in need.

What do you look for in team members?

We like individuals who are pro-active and have the drive to make a positive change, who understand what we do and share our vision. I think those things are much harder to find than someone with a particular skill or experience. The team is probably the largest single component, which will determine whether you’ll succeed or not.

Why would a talent join your team?

I think one of the things that make people want to work with us (emphasis on “with” vs. “for), is that we like to empower each and every team member and give them a sense of belonging and responsibility. There’s nothing more inspiring to us than seeing that we’ve helped unlocking a talent or an inspiration. All that of course comes with the roller coaster-like learning curve of an intense startup experience.

What was your most memorable moment so far?

Oh they’re so many. The most recent one was closing a major partnership in a five-star restaurant at a luxury yacht port. Another would be going to a networking or social event, where you don’t know anyone, and finding out that a large number of the people there know your company and even follow it closely. You can’t really put a price on that, it’s just great knowing that people support you and take interest in what you do. And then there’s everything else which comes with the different stages you go through, pitches, startup competitions, getting your first investment offer, etc.

What’s next for ClaimCompass?

With thousands of happy clients, we thought “okay, how can we make things even better”? So we came up with an entirely new service called Unlimited Claims and we’re just weeks away from its official launch. I can’t reveal much now, but the key difference is that our current model is reactionary – i.e. passengers come to us only after their flight. Unlimited Claims is anticipatory, meaning passengers will now have a way of getting one step ahead of the game.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that air passenger traffic will reach 7 billion by 2034. With several operational and infrastructural challenges, the number of flight delays and cancellations will continue to increase. We would want to see that the millions of passengers who have had, and will have their rights to compensation disregarded by the airlines, have finally received the compensation they are legally entitled, that justice has been restored, and that they are now more informed and know who to turn to.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

A brilliant idea is not a startup. So make sure you have at least some sort of validation before you do anything, before you even approach potential co-founders. Will others care about it and is there a market need? How will you make money? Don’t try to figure those out along the way because there’s a good chance that you won’t and it’ll cost you a lot. Start building a network as soon as possible – you’ll need founders, mentors, advisors, investors – and believe me, a personal intro goes a long way.



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