The tourism sector in Portugal is one of the country’s strongest economic engines, trading countless millions of Euros a year. Climber is a hotel management tool that aims to help improve hotel’s profits and their pricing system. I talked with Mário Mouraz, co-founder of the company.
In a nutshell, what is Climber and how did the idea come about?
Climber Hotel is an easy to use smart Revenue Management tool that helps independent hotels maximize their revenue by automating their pricing system. The idea was born in January 2015, in a pivot from another project which Mario (co-founder of Climber) was involved. Basically we understood that hotels have a problem with rates and availability management and we decided to do something about it. We built a team in March 2015 and in September we started to develop the first version of the solution, which has just been made available to the clients.
How do hotels make more money with your solution?
Climber automates hotels pricing system by not only recommending the optimal price they should be selling but also distributing it to the different internet online channels (Booking.com, Expedia, hotel website, etc).
You have a unique pricing model. Does it adapt to each particular hotel?
We charge the hotels an annual subscription (SaaS) which is based on the number of rooms the hotel has.
Tourism is one of the main economic engines in Portugal. How do you plan to ride this wave?
There’s a growing number of hotel openings in Portugal and we want to help them too. The current Revenue Management tools hotels use are outdated (spreadsheets) and we are taking advantage of the increasingly competitive landscape to present a solution that not only helps increase hotel revenues but also is easy to use and affordable.
Are there any success stories you can share?
We are still building our first use-cases with the hotels but we were already able to sign a major partnership agreement with a larger hotel software vendor with 7.000 hotels around the globe and put together an amazing complementary team of 8 people. We also successfully fundraised an equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. But above all, we are happy with our developments…which is our major success.
What are your growth plans for the next six months?
We want to reach 140 paying clients until the end of the 2016. We’re also closing a partnership with a global software vendor which will allow us to sell our solution to over 50.000 hotels. We want to recruit 10 more people until the end of the year and to close a second round of funding to support of international expansion to Europe in early 2017.
How do you compare the Portuguese startup scene with Berlin or London?
Some people argue that Lisbon is becoming the new Berlin or London and we believe that we are moving fast in that direction. We agree. Lisbon has IT expertise available, is on the top 5 of cities in Europe for startups creation, there are incubators and accelerator programs available and new ones emerging which are steering the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The role of the Portuguese government has also been important with the launch of incentives for startups (“StartUP Portugal”). The fact that Web Summit is coming to Lisbon will generate a huge impact and put Portugal under the radar of international investors which hopefully will make it easier for founders to grow born-global startups from Portugal. Last but not least, Lisbon has this good “vibe” with a fantastic weather and open culture which makes it very attractive for international talent to come and work here.
What do you wish you’d have known when you first started?
All startups make mistakes. As founders we have done them all. We wish we would have known that raising money takes time as well as dealing with investors takes time to master. Recruiting the right people takes time, building a culture is key, making money fast is essential (keeping our product simple), launching ASAP and receiving feedback to iterate the product in necessary to burn less cash. As a founder (Mario), I should have been forbidden to be a single founder when I first started. No one can walk long enough and create much impact just by himself.
To find out more about Climber visit http://climberhotel.com/