Category: Travel & Tourism – Safety and Security
A platform for global health and safety became ready to support Japan after establishing very strong market indicators. Sitata proved its value by detecting COVID-19 on December 30th and warning travellers on January 2nd, 2020. As a result, Sitata has established multiple opportunities to work with large corporations in Japan.
Of the 1.2 billion international travellers each year, 20% seek assistance when abroad. This is a massive number of people that need help in an unfamiliar environment. Sitata keeps travellers safe by providing them with real-time health and safety information and connecting them to assistance when they need it. Our web platform and mobile app collects traveller’s itineraries and provides them with all necessary, pre-trip health and safety information for their destinations including vaccination recommendations, emergency numbers, hospital locations, and safety advice.
Interview with Sitata
What does Sitata do?
Of the 1.2 billion international travellers, more than 240 million seek help when abroad, but less than 20% phone for help. The truth is, mobile technology is failing to prevent travel mishaps and there’s little support for when they do happen. Sitata is your travel companion for worry-free travels. We use software to monitor the world for travel disruptions and we notify you on the ground in near real-time for everything from flight delays to violence. Our chat-based assistance provides help at the push of a button, including video consultations with travel medicine specialists. Sitata sells its services to corporations to keep their employees safe and as a subscription to holiday travellers.
How did you/the founders come up with the idea?
Sitata was actually a combination of experiences. First, unfortunately, I have had some bad travel encounters in the past: everything from violent protests to just simply getting terrible food poisoning. Every time, I was struggling to get the convenient help I was looking for. On the other hand, Sitata was also born out of my father’s ambition to help prevent the spread of disease around the world. He retired as Canada’s first Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and was responsible for creating the world’s first automated, digital disease detection system (GPHIN) which was accredited for the early detection of SARS. To create Sitata, we took his learnings from GPHIN, introduced modern algorithms, and expanded the scope from disease detection to anything that will disrupt travels.
Could you tell us a bit about you and your team?
Sitata’s founders are Ronald and Adam St. John. Ron graduated from Yale, Colombia and Harvard and spent more than 30 years in the world of public health. He has consulted with WHO, CDC and the public health departments of several federal governments around the world. Adam graduated from Queen’s University in Canada in mechanical engineering, completed a masters degree in Engineering Science, and has more than 22 years of software experience. He brought the original technical expertise to the company but now focuses on business development and company strategy. We also have a team of software developers and business development associates. In addition, we have a content analysis team reviewing potential travel disrupting events around the clock before publishing them to travellers around the world. Our advisory board consists of experts with travel, public health, and insurance industry experience.
What are the other alternatives to Sitata?
There are some legacy competitors that have focused solely on corporate travel risk consulting and assistance services. In general, they struggle with their technology offerings, are private membership only, and can be extremely expensive. In contrast, Sitata is a technology leader and our pricing is competitive. In addition, anyone, be it a corporate or holiday traveller, can register and use our service. Lastly, we were the first among them to provide in-app telemedicine support within our platform so that travellers can be quickly connected to a medical expert.
Who is your target customer?
We resonate loudly with corporate travel managers that wish to keep their staff and colleagues safe at home and abroad. That said, we have a substantial user base of individuals that use us for their holiday travels – often as a complement to their travel insurance or as a good tool for those that don’t believe in travel insurance.
How does your product make a difference to the industry?
We have led the industry in early warnings and travel safety for both corporate and holiday travellers. We were also the first to bundle our services with other providers in a B2B2C model through our API and mobile Software Development Kits. We also set an industry first when we supported a traveller in Indonesia with a medical issue without having to make a single phone call.
What are the milestones for Sitata?
Today, we have a very rich product for end-to-end travel safety and have deployed our services with travel insurers in the United States and Europe. We’re Techstars graduates and soon to be Startupbootcamp Scale Osaka graduates. Our near-term goal in Japan is to secure corporate partnerships to bring our services to this market. Ultimately, we wish to increase the usage of our platform so that one day every traveller will have Sitata in their pocket when they leave their home.
Why did you start targeting Japan?
Japan is a very important part of the travel ecosystem in the Asia Pacific and has a global footprint in world trade. Japan is also seen as a leader in technology and its products and services are known to be of ultra-high quality. We know that if we can survive in Japan, then we will be a very strong global organization.