FlightFox YC Founder: We Talk About When To Quit All The Time, $700k Revenue, Making Travel Way Easier with CEO Lauren Sullivan

Lauren Sullivan

In Episode #584, Nathan interviews Lauren Sullivan. She’s the co-founder of Flightfox, a site which Nathan recently used to book multi-country travel. Flightfox helped him understand the best way to leverage his points from his Chase Credit Card for travel purposes. Flightfox helps you search flights, manage your trip, and leverage your loyalty points, to help ease your trip planning experience and it is growing fast.



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Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Good to Great
  • What CEO do you follow? – John Mackey
  • Favorite online tool? — PocketSmith
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Yes, currently
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – Lauren wished she had stopped working for someone else and started building her own company earlier

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:25 – Nathan introduces Lauren to the show
  • 02:02 – Flightfox is an online and real-time platform that manages travel for individuals, companies and organizations
  • 02:15 – Flightfox’s revenue model is to charge per trip and they make money from commission
  • 02:32 – Flightfox’s expert will help match and plan a trip and they will authorize the credit card you use
  • 03:33 – Flightfox books for companies, too
  • 03:50 – The more complex the trip, the more expensive it is
  • 05:10 – If Flightfox can’t find you a trip, they won’t charge you
  • 05:34 – Flightfox was launched in 2012
    • 05:45 – Flightfox was originally launched as a contest based, cloud source system
    • 06:10 – There were a small number of the majority winning the contest
    • 06:21 – The model was switched to a one-on-one
  • 07:04 – The experts are contactors
    • 07:15 – The experts get a fee per trip
    • 07:40 – Most of them are full-time
  • 07:50 – Flights metrics
    • 08:03 – Flightfox is focused on companies and organizations
  • 08:14 – CAC is a bit high
  • 09:20 – There are at least 50 companies who have booked with Flightfox
    • 09:35 – 5-10 companies are booking at least 30 trips per month
    • 09:50 – Companies usually have 80 people
  • 10:20 – In 2012, Flightfox has raised $850K
  • 10:50 – Four Team members
  • 11:50 – Flightfox has pivoted a couple of times already
  • 13:19 – Lauren has been through a lot with her company thus far, and has chosen to carry on
  • 14:14 – 2016 total revenue
  • 14:40 – Flightfox is close to breaking even
  • 14:53 – Average MRR
  • 15:11 – Raising another round will depend on the things that will happen in the future
  • 17:00 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Changing your business model isn’t easy – but, it’s very normal to have to do so.
  2. Going through the most difficult times will test not just your patience, but your ability to make the best decisions.
  3. If it’s what you really want, just keep going.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel
  • Toptal– Nathan found his development team using Toptal for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to the quality of Toptal
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible.
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens, and follow-up with email sequences
  • Jamf – Jamf helped Nathan keep his Macbook Air 11” secure even when he left it in the airplane’s back seat pocket
  • Freshbooks – Nathan doesn’t waste time so he uses Freshbooks to send out invoices and collect his money. Get your free month NOW
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives