November 2, 2015

Guest Article - My thoughts on Tech, Search and Travel: by WhaleSlide's Founder Francesco Petruzzelli

I first had the idea to develop a new search engine when I was eighteen. At the time I used the iGoogle platform and I found it clunky and uncomfortable. It felt like a pair of shoes a size too small - they do the job but you’re left hating them after more than an hour.

As an 18 year old living in the Cotswolds, I didn’t have a huge amount of options open to me. I remember going to Barclays to get a business loan based purely on my business plan and, even though they were helpful, I got the overwhelming feeling I was heading down a dead end. Fast forward seven years and a couple of jobs across a couple of countries and we’ve started building the product and technology that I initially dreamed of. In fact we’ve surpassed it. 

Although WhaleSlide is still in its infancy, we’ve already started developing technologies and ideas that we think will influence the way that people search. Technologies like our collection system which encompasses human curation into search results, searching the social sphere and instant answers are just some of the small steps we’re taking to help change and improve the relevancy of results.Click the image below to watch a video of the product in action:

It’s through some of this technology that our partnership with Skyscanner for Business began. We believe you should find what you’re looking for with the least amount of effort. Skyscanner help us do this by providing instant answers to flight related queries to find the best deals to your destination instantly. However, this technology isn’t limited to flights, and soon we’ll also provide this feature for car rentals using Skyscanner technology. Our product is always evolving and a big part of it is having partners with well documented API’s that we can integrate quickly and efficiently across every sector.

From a personal and business perspective, to grow not only the UK’s tech ecosystem but also Europe’s requires more companies opening their technology up and partnering with their smaller siblings. Sharing data and optimising the way it reaches consumers should form an integral part of the backbone of UK digital infrastructure. Hopefully, more mid and large sized companies will open their doors to startups looking to leverage data in mutually beneficial products.

Moving away from the technology side of the business, we have two core principles that underpin the ecosystem we want to build not only within the company as a whole but also externally within our user base. Firstly, a complete and utter respect for people’s privacy. We don’t need your personal data to influence what you see nor do we need it to tailor advertising. A view which is very much at odds with all the larger search engines.

Secondly is our ability to allow people to give back. At first the idea was just to donate a percentage of our profits to a charity of the user's choice but we evolved that a step further and made WhaleSlide a white label platform This enables charities of all sizes to harness their user bases to raise revenue for good causes around the world but not only that, it gives them the ability to speak to a demographic that perhaps they might not have interacted in with as closely before.

Over the next 6 months we expect WhaleSlide to really evolve and come into its own. It’s the start of an exciting journey for us.

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