Berlin-based startup Layla, founded by Jeremy Jauncey and Saad Saeed, is leveraging the power of AI chatbots and creator content to create a unique travel recommendation app. Jauncey, the founder of travel agency Beautiful Destinations, and Saeed, co-founder of grocery delivery service Flink, aim to bring a fresh solution to the travel industry by harnessing their expertise in social media and tech product development.
Layla’s app and chatbot allow users to discover and explore new travel destinations by chatting on Instagram. Users can inquire about various destinations, including weather, best time to visit, and recommended activities, as well as find flight and hotel options. The chatbot also showcases videos from creators associated with Beautiful Destinations, offering users an alternative perspective of different places.
While Layla already boasts thousands of followers on Instagram due to the network of Beautiful Destinations, the startup encourages users to transition to its own app on Instagram. In the app, users can create personalized lists, share them with friends, and engage in conversations with Layla about their trips. Additionally, the app provides richer visual content, including videos, ticket prices, and hotel options.
Layla has partnered with Booking.com for hotel options and Skyscanner for flight options. Initially, the startup will generate revenue through fee sharing for these transactions. However, as it scales, Layla is open to exploring other monetization avenues, such as personalized advertising opportunities.
The company has recently secured a €3 million ($3.2 million) seed investment led by firstminute capital, with participation from industry leaders such as Booking.com’s co-founder Andy Phillips and Skyscanner co-founder Barry Smith. Layla aims to differentiate itself by focusing on surfacing diverse content rather than relying on filter-based search results. The startup has built its own recommendation engine and is also developing vision technology to answer queries related to visual content.
As competition in the AI-travel space intensifies, Layla aims to educate its users on asking the right kind of queries for accurate AI responses and establish itself as an innovative inspiration layer in the travel industry. Investors believe that even a small lead in integrating AI into the travel industry can make a significant difference.