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Li Shi, a graduate of the New York Founder Institute, is the cofounder of SeatAssignMate, an interactive email company specialized in distributing real-time perishable inventories that allows passengers to assign or upgrade their seats, check-in to their flights, and purchase airline product and service offerings, all from directly within their email inbox. Backed by industry investors including JetBlue Technology Ventures and EL AL Israel Airlines, SeatAssignmate was voted by over 200 airlines as the “Best Ancillary Upsell Solution” at the IATA (International Air Transport Association) World Passenger Symposium.

Now, SeatAssignMate has been selected to participate in another round of fundraising through Seedinvest, an SEC-approved crowdfunding platform that accepts just 2% of the companies that apply. So far, SeatAssignMate has already raised more than $500k via Seedinvest - and, as of the time of this publishing, it’s not too late for you too to invest in and own a piece of SeatAssignMate through the crowdfunding platform.

Founded by Li Shi and Duncan Sham in 2014, these entrepreneurs identified a series of customer pain points and platform inefficiencies in the existing airline e-ticketing process. Whether assigning the right seats, checking into flights on time, or requesting a meal with special dietary requirements, the number of steps the customer was required to navigate in order to complete even the simplest requests all required the copy-pasting of the e-ticket number, logging into the airline website, and navigating an average of 8 web pages through 30+ clicks, measuring 7 minutes of time spent on each request. This prompted the two co-founders to ask the question,

Can all of this be done easier?

In order to radically simplify the seat selection process, SeatAssignMate wanted to develop a tool that would work right at the very first point of post-ticketing contact: directly inside the customer’s inbox. The solution is a dynamic seat map that displayed right within the customer email, showing real-time airline data that allows the customers to choose their seat selection without having to login or navigate through airline websites.


SeatAssignMate’s interactive and dynamic email solution represents an opportunity much bigger than just the convenience of the seat selection tool. According to Shi,

Every click or every second wasted in this frustration is associated with a 5% drop off rate - this 5% is a big deal for an industry with $80 billion in revenue.

And beyond seat selection and flight check-in, dynamic email also provides a hugely simplified upsell application, allows airlines and travel agencies to distribute interactive content and dynamic ancillary services, like optional meals and entertainment upgrades, all from directly within the email inbox, without having to go to an airline’s website or download an app or plugins.

The company sees huge potential for its technology, and is taking the future seriously in terms of protecting its intellectual property. To date, the core technology solution powering SeatAssignMate’s dynamic email capabilities has been patented in over 30 countries, including the United States. So for these visionary co-founders, the even longer term goal is simple: to make email more interactive.

 

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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $700M in funding, and building products people love across over 180 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey


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