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Tourism startup Co-founder faces “toughest day of his life”

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

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Contxto – April 2, 2020 was dubbed by startup Co-founder/CEO, Max Oliveira, “the toughest day of his life.” In a LinkedIn post he stated that MaxMilhas, the company he’d helped launch seven years ago, would be laying off a “significant part” of its team.

And unfortunately, “significant” is the appropriate term, as 167 members of the tourism startup—or 42 percent of its team—were let go. As a startup that relies on flights to operate, the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic proved too much for it.

Making the most of air miles

Under conditions where it’s safe to travel, the startup’s solution is useful for the wander lusters of this world.

And that’s because MaxMilhas’ hosts a platform where users, looking for airfare can acquire cheaper tickets. This is possible because they can buy air miles off of holders who’ve put them up for sale on the system.

It’s a win for travelers who want to save money. Not to mention an additional source of income for those who never use those air miles.

Moreover, it’s impressive that it had participated in 21212’s accelerator program and hadn’t seen the need to raise equity through investors.

Although that makes one wonder, if it had raised a round, say, six months back would things have turned out differently?

MaxMilhas’ tourism troubles with Covid-19

Undoubtedly, the startup’s operations were all too quickly overswept by the pandemic.

“We were caught by an overwhelming scenario, mainly from the tourism sector,” said Oliveira on a LinkedIn post.

“We saw airlines reduce operations by 90 percent and travel cancellations in Brazil reach 85 percent. The external forces were greater than my human capacity and effort to try to avoid the impacts on our team.”

It’s a tough moment to be in the tourism industry. And that’s regardless of whether it’s a tech startup or a brick-and-mortar business. But it won’t stay that way forever.

Once the global economy has somewhat recovered, tourism-related startups will be the toast of the town. As money retakes its flow, there will be a sort of angst to get more traveling in.

But until that happens, these startups can only wait and weather the storm. Some will do so through investors, others by pivoting, or, like MaxMilhas, via layoffs. 

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it may be the medicine these startups need to survive the pandemic.

Related articles: Tech and startups from Brazil!

-ML

Mariana López
My topic darlings are startup management, edtech, and all-things pop culture. J Balvin is Latin America's best reggaetonero and I dare you to convince me otherwise.

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