Paul Kenny's online travel company Triperna conducted a research report, which found that the travel market in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt is worth some $35 billion a year. Jaime Puebla / The National
Paul Kenny's online travel company Triperna conducted a research report, which found that the travel market in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt is worth some $35 billion a year. Jaime Puebla / The NatiShow more

Cobone founder branches out into travel



The man behind Cobone.com has launched an online travel company.

Paul Kenny set up the daily deals website in 2010 and earlier this year sold a majority stake to Tiger Global Management, a New York-based investment firm, which is believed to have made US$1 billion trading in Facebook.

Mr Kenny stayed on as chief executive of the company and has now co-founded the online package holiday venture Triperna with the backing of Tiger.

The company conducted a research report, which found that the travel market in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt is worth some $35bn a year.

“It’s an absolutely massive market and probably what’s most exciting about that market is that still 90 per cent of that market is offline,” said Mr Kenny, who is also the chief executive of Triperna.

“The same thing was happening in Ireland 15 years ago. People used to go to travel agents and tour operators to book their holidays and then they have transitioned that to go online. What’s interesting here is that many people are already researching their holidays online but they are still purchasing offline, but that trend will change.”

Triperna accepts both credit card and cash payments for those reluctant to use their cards online and offers everything from staycation trips in the Emirates to holidays in London, Kathmandu and the Maldives.

“What’s unique about the platform is that you’re not just getting the room night. You can book a package with us, say at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai, and you’re going to get tickets for Burj Khalifa as well,” said Mr Kenny.

Analysts say that the online travel space in the region has potential, but new companies will prosper only if they are competitive against existing players.

“Online travel companies will only succeed if their inventory and price points are competitively priced compared to global players like Expedia and Travelocity,” said Gaurav Sinha, the founder and managing director of the travel representation agency Insignia.

“In principle I think looking at online solutions to provide travel [options] is a plus. I don’t think it works in the ultra luxury segment of the travel industry because human engagement is always going to play a very important role when you are looking at bespoke travel arrangements. If it is cheap tickets and cheap holidays there is growth for it, provided that cheap is something you can deliver on.”

gduncan@thenational.ae

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Know your camel milk:
Flavour: Similar to goat’s milk, although less pungent. Vaguely sweet with a subtle, salty aftertaste.
Texture: Smooth and creamy, with a slightly thinner consistency than cow’s milk.
Use it: In your morning coffee, to add flavour to homemade ice cream and milk-heavy desserts, smoothies, spiced camel-milk hot chocolate.
Goes well with: chocolate and caramel, saffron, cardamom and cloves. Also works well with honey and dates.

What is tokenisation?

Tokenisation refers to the issuance of a blockchain token, which represents a virtually tradable real, tangible asset. A tokenised asset is easily transferable, offers good liquidity, returns and is easily traded on the secondary markets. 

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The Africa Institute 101

Housed on the same site as the original Africa Hall, which first hosted an Arab-African Symposium in 1976, the newly renovated building will be home to a think tank and postgraduate studies hub (it will offer master’s and PhD programmes). The centre will focus on both the historical and contemporary links between Africa and the Gulf, and will serve as a meeting place for conferences, symposia, lectures, film screenings, plays, musical performances and more. In fact, today it is hosting a symposium – 5-plus-1: Rethinking Abstraction that will look at the six decades of Frank Bowling’s career, as well as those of his contemporaries that invested social, cultural and personal meaning into abstraction. 

ALRAWABI SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5

SPECS

Engine: 2-litre direct injection turbo
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Power: 261hp
Torque: 400Nm
Price: From Dh134,999

The five pillars of Islam