Ferryhopper: The solution to the “riddle” of online ferry bookings
Ferryhopper is a greek startup booking company that has solved the complicated problem of booking ferry tickets and has managed to reinforce its position in the market during the pandemic.
Tourism may be Greece’s “heavy” industry ,however until recently a lot of essential “technical” problems remained unsolved. One of these problems was the easy and fast ticket booking , especially for ship itineraries with stopovers. A few years ago this procedure was quite complicated, it demanded time and searching in complex sites caused great inconvenience.The traveller didn’t have access to important information and therefore his trip was actually a “riddle”.
In 2017,Christos Spatharakis, Vasileios Lahanas, Panagiotis Sarafis and Aiden Short,the founders of Ferryhopper tried to solve this problem. Ferryhopper created an online marketplace for ferry tickets which ,for the first time in Greece provide the user with indirect connections and routes to other destinations and makes ferry travelling in Greece easy and simple. Moreover, the island-hopping option allows the traveler to book multiple tickets in a single shot. The team’s goal was to make ferry travelling easy and accessible to everyone by offering all the tools and the support that all the modern travellers need.
The road to success and the obstacle of the pandemic
The company managed in the first two years of its operation to stand out and win the award in the 4th “Bluegrowth” competition, the first award in the competition for New Entrepreneurs of Sir Stelios Hatziioannou,founder of the easyGroup, the holding company controlling the “easy” family of brands, as well as the Envolve Award Greece.
In 2019 Metavallon VC,a greek venture capital firm investing in startups and easyGroup, proceeded with a 600,000 euros Seed nvestment .Ferryhopper also won third place in the 9 th competition of Innovation and Technology of NBG Business Seeds of the National Bank of Greece. That’s how the company managed to grow and receive a 2,6 million dollars round A funding from LAUNCHub Ventures, Metavallon VC and easyGroup in 2020 a crucial year for the company.
The fact that 2020 is referred as a crucial year is not a random statement. How could it be since it is the year that the pandemic burst out in Greece. It is a year of innumerable consequences on global economy and especially on tourism but also on the way people live,work,or travel. During this year Ferryhopper ran like clockwork. The team worked hard and tried to apply new possibilities and operations and improve the existing ones in order to help travellers.
The company updated its site in order to provide all the necessary information to the visitor and proceeded to the launch of its mobile app,its biggest project for 2020. Through this app offered innovations such as e-ticket , which allows contactless ship boarding. At the same time , it started handling cases of canceled tickets and vouchers that were given from ferry companies ,integrated loyalty programs from bigger companies and added coupons and many new companies from the Mediterranean.
Optimism for 2021
By doing these steps it managed to become the number one booking platform in Greece and today it serves 250 destinations in the Mediterranean and it employs 50 people from Greece,Italy,Bulgaria, France ,Spain,Germany and Argentina.The company now feels ready for the future and whatever it brings with it and the numbers can confirm that.
According to Christos Spatharakis,Ferryhopper’s CEO , there is a significant rise in the number of bookings for the next months and have surpasses already from May the levels of 2019. This creates big hope to our team which has set as a goal to surpass the records of 2019. This will probably be the next benchmark with a symbolic value since it will mean the end of the pandemic.