BigBlank is the name of Air France KLM groups new ‘start-up studio’ designed to explore travel trends and create companies ‘with innovative projects and high growth potential’. The group says the studio was set up to help it anticipate the needs of its customers and be a “pioneer in all new market segments”. The projects will be implemented by entrepreneurs who will draw on the experience of the Air France KLM group and its airlines. Each project will be provided with seed funding of up to €800,000.

Currently based in Paris the company is a subsidiary entirely owned by the group with B777 pilot Hubert Riondel appointed as it managing director.  Hubert eschewed the label “accelerator” for the Air France/KLM program, partly because his organisation doesn’t host start-ups and doesn’t invest in start-ups that already have customers.  BigBlank is instead “a start-up studio,” Riondel said.

A team of a dozen hacker-savants based in a co-working space in Paris’s 10th arrondissement will identify pain points at every step of the typical travel journey and then incubate projects to solve those problems. The team will choose projects to turn into start-ups with the help of a network of mentoring engineers and marketers, evaluating ideas based on their potential revenue and market size.

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