Featured in BTN Innovator
An article from Business Travel News
Innovators You Should Know 2017,
JoAnn DeLuna | September, 2017.
Ask someone at a small or midsize enterprise why the company doesn’t have a duty of care solution, and that person most likely will cite the price tag. In October, startup SafeTravelRx will launch an affordable travel risk management mobile solution for Android and iOS. Costs for travel management companies, before their reselling markups, will be $1.50 per trip up to $3 per trip with upgrades. SafeTravelRx CEO Ron DiLeo told BTN’s JoAnn DeLuna how it makes travel risk management affordable.
What does SafeTravelRx solve for?
There’s a segment of the industry that doesn’t have a duty of care solution that’s affordable to them. The big enterprise-level solutions appeal to the stereotypical Fortune 500 [companies]. You’re not going to get a 50-person law firm or a 100-person advertising firm to spend six to seven figures on a duty of care solution. That’s the gap, the problem to be solved.
The app gives travelers access to iJet International services. It also enables travelers to transmit medical information to a local emergency provider. How does it work, and how are you distributing the solution?
We’re going to distribute it through travel management companies. A company sends the TMC a list of travelers they want to enroll in the program. Travel managers then ask travelers to download the app and fill out a profile with things like emergency contacts, blood type, medications they’re taking and medical conditions like high blood pressure. When a traveler presses the emergency call button in the app, this is what the local emergency provider will receive through a text message, along with the traveler’s exact coordinates.
Do you have TMC partners in place?
We have about 12 conversations going on with companies at global and regional levels. The larger players are interested in the medical [information transmission] functionality, while everyone else will be interested in the balance [of iJet services, as well].
What’s the business model?
We charge on a per-[air booking] basis. Everyone has seen the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial. That company charges [$49.95] a month [for the customer] to carry an ugly pendant around. Travelers enrolled in SafeTravelRx can use the app like that [even when they’re not traveling] and there’s no incremental cost [for such local use, but] we’re not making money on that. We’re making money [only] when people [book] travel. When a traveler calls the TMC to book a trip, everything gets triggered automatically. That [passenger name record] automatically is sent to iJet, which will recognize the traveler is going to, for example, Athens. IJet will trigger Athens-[related security] alerts to the traveler through email until the trip is done. From the app, travelers also can check what’s happening in Athens through iJet’s database in advance. There’s also a help desk call center button powered by AIG Travel Guard for nonemergencies like translations or knowing the equivalent names of prescriptions.
What’s the biggest barrier to travel risk management adoption?
The cost is usually the barrier, but we’ve eliminated that [by making the product affordable]. Our biggest challenge is getting travelers to actually download the app. If you don’t download the app, it’s not going to matter to [my company]; it’s going to matter to you. A good travel manager will say, “I noticed you didn’t download the app. This is just a reminder to fill out your profile.”
I can see travelers being wary that their private medical information will be shared with their employers.
Travelers agree to the functionality of the app. They agree that it’s OK to send this basic information to the emergency service provider, but otherwise, the information is only stored on their phone.
Any other challenges?
Not every 911 responder operates on a cellular network, in which case the call will go out but the [medical] info doesn’t. About half the [U.S.] has cut over to cellular lines. That’s a short-lived problem. In some areas like Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, the phone networks are more contemporary than what we have in the States.