The post was originally published in Russian on Startup of the Day. Alexander kindly agreed to republish what we think is of great value to our readers.
Evaneos, the French startup of the day, is a simple and clear service, but it achieved an amazing scale. The startup helps travelers who have already outgrown all-inclusive package tours but still don’t want or cannot plan a trip entirely on their own. The user reads the descriptions of countries and sights on the Evaneos website – quite weak, if you ask me – and then fills out a request: ‘my wife and I want to visit the Netherlands in March, a week or so, our budget is like this, our prefere3nces are like this.’
The startup sends the request over to a local agent, the latter picks one of their standard packages and sends an offer to the client: ‘arrival on 19.03, four days in Amsterdam, here’s your hotel, here are your excursions, two hours of spare time, then we move on to Rotterdam, …’ The traveler sends back their notes and corrections, and then, the plan finally gets negotiated and confirmed. The parties may negotiate via mail or phone, the payment always goes through the website.
The better kind of offline agencies offers a similar experience to a client. Evaneos insists that they eliminate an excessive intermediary. Financially speaking, it is a lie, the startup charges a commission, but the communication is indeed direct in this model, as opposed to an agency’s possible misinterpretations. If we disregard the pronunciation issues and the time zone difference, it must be more convenient and efficient.
As of now, 1,500 agents cooperate with Evaneos, the startup has served 300,000 customers, – the numbers are modest, the revenue counts at several dozens of millions of dollars throughout the company’s entire seven years’ history. But investors trust in future growth, and the startup brought in USD 80M in its latest round.
This is a rerun from 2018. If the project did have some growth after the big round, the pandemic annihilated it, and now Evaneos essentially begin from the same starting point. A couple of weeks ago, it brought in its first round since then – EUR 20M. In four years, the number of agents increased from 1,500 to only 2,000, and the overall amount of customers – from 300,000 to 500,000.
Alexander made his career in Russian internet companies including Mail.Ru, Rambler, RBC. From 2016 to 2018 he was Chief Strategy and Analytics officer in Mail.Ru Group. In this position, he worked on M&A, investments, and new project launches. In 2018 he became Deputy CEO in Citymobil, a Russian Uber-like company that was invested by Mail.Ru Group and Sberbank (the biggest Russian bank), then he left the company to launch his own projects. Now Alexander is a co-founder of United Investors – the platform for co-investments in Russian early-stage startups. His blog #startupoftheday (#стартапдня) is one of the most popular blogs about startups in Russia.