Gellert sees the app as “day of travel” assistant. “We have a lot of unique data in our product such as airport amenity information, TSA wait times, airport tips, maps, etc. For these reasons, as a day-of travel solution, the GateGuru experience blows away that of any of these guys,” he said.
They have raised $1.3 million to date from Amol Sarva, Matt Daimler, Tom Glocer, and others. They are currently seeing 140,000 users per month with 1 million downloads.
The inspiration for the service came when Gellert and Arena spent most of their time traveling yet remained confused about where to eat in airports and which security lines were shortest. “Somehow there was a complete black hole of information for the traveler. Simple things like: ‘Should I eat before or after security?,’ ‘How long is the security wait time?’, ‘Is my flight delayed or on time?’ often couldn’t be answered. I felt like there needed to be a seamless solution to give travelers knowledge about this entire experience; to put the power back in the hands of the traveler.”
“From there, it has been off to the races in going from Yelp for the airport into our larger vision which is reinventing the entire day-of travel experience,” he said.
The team is planning further improvements, including a true “virtual assistant” feature that should make traveling a bit more bearable.
“We will get to the point in the next 12 – 18 months where we can say ‘John – we know you are driving out to SFO, and based on traffic, airport parking availability, security wait times, your walk to your gate and flight status, you should leave for the airport in 30 minutes’ – regardless of if that is 2 hours or 4 hours before your flight,” he said. “This is a big change from the anxiety filled experience of walking through the airport glass doors only to find the place mobbed, resulting in you potentially missing your flight.” The data comes from collections of information including TSA checkpoint wait times and airport maps.
Whether GateGuru becomes a key part of your travel process or just another app that sits in that little folder on my phone labelled Travel and contains Kayak, TripIt, (inexplicably) Shazam, and RideTheCity remains to be seen. However, these lads do have promise.