Edmundas Balcikonis
The biggest advantage [of being in Ontario] is the concentration of talent and the amazing people.

Adventurers rejoice! Eddy Travels, the new kids on the Toronto tech block, are making booking your next trip a one-stop shop – all through your favourite chat app.

Edmundas Balcikonis and his team of developers hail from Lithuania, and are only in their second month on Canadian soil. The company was founded by Edmundas and his partners Pranas Kiziela and Adomas Baltagalvis in August of 2018, and after joining the Techstars Accelerator earlier this year, have already been named one of the 10 fast-growing technology companies in the cohort.

Powered by machine learning, Eddy Travels partners with Skyscanner to help consumers find the best deals on travel, including flights, hotel accommodations, and car rentals all within the confines of chat apps such as Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Viber and Slack. The commands can be controlled by typing directly in the chat app, or through voice search.

"I've been travelling since I was 17", says Edmundas. "My inspiration for the company came when I was in China. People use WeChat for everything there, like paying bills or ordering a taxi. Chats are changing a lot of industries, including travel, so I saw an opportunity."

The program can also be used as a trip planner and give directions to the closest coffee shops, best restaurants, or sightseeing spots, according to the traveler's taste.

Wanderlust Made Easy

"People are excited about travel", says Edmundas. "We want to make their experience easier." Their approach is working. After only three months, Eddy Travels already has over 2,500 users, and are growing at a rapid pace. With this growth comes the desire to expand services, and the company's plans are well under-way.

"We're working on launching travel insurance [in the coming] weeks. We're also working on customizing results. For example, some users prefer to only fly with Air Canada, or want to stay at a hotel where they can collect points. Skyscanner finds thousands of deals, but we only provide the consumer with three options, and we want to give them the best result."

Edmundas and his team are also looking to launch their services on other chat platforms such as WeChat, WhatsApp and Amazon Alexa.

From YYZ to the World

Being from Eastern Europe, and far away from the big travel companies, Edmundas and his team didn't know what to expect when they landed in Toronto – but in true Canadian fashion, they were welcomed with open arms. "The biggest advantage [of being in Ontario] is the concentration of talent and the amazing people", says Edmundas. "We are learning every day, every hour, here at Techstars. We get to speak to different [industry] experts. The ecosystem in Toronto is amazing."

And Edmundas and his team are showing the love in return.

"We are actually going to do a number of campaigns, promoting flights from San Francisco, New York, London, and Berlin, to show investors how easy it is to come to Toronto. Canadians should be really proud of their tech ecosystem."

What's next on tap for Eddy Travels? Growing their customer base, and their team.

"We want to grow to 10,000 monthly active users and focus on opportunities in North America. Canada is the perfect location to enter the U.S. market. We are also continuing to grow our team and looking for talent in Toronto."

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