FlyMuch to Help Travelers Make Most of Their RewardsBusiness Profiles — By Melanie McIntyre on September 29, 2010 at 8:00 am
FlyMuch Inc. appears to be off to a strong start.
The technology-based startup launched just last year was among 16 businesses recently offered Job Creation Tax Credits by the Ohio Department of Development.
The 45 percent tax credit is valued at $136,003 over a five-year term and the company would be required to maintain operations in Dublin, where it is currently headquartered, for eight years.
“We are thrilled that the DOD has made a bid for us to stay and build another business in Ohio,” says Jim Kamnikar, cofounder and CEO of FlyMuch. “We enjoy the low cost of living in Central Ohio, and with the strong [Information Technology] labor pool and great lifestyle, it’s an excellent place to raise a family.”
FlyMuch monitors travel promotions, integrates search criteria and personal account information, and delivers travelers the information needed to help them make beneficial loyalty decisions via an online application.
Or, as Kamnikar simply puts it, “FlyMuch helps you to earn free travel by maximizing your rewards,” like frequent flyer miles.
In November, FlyMuch will unveil “a unique solution” for travel consumers during The Travel Innovation Summit at The PhoCusWright Conference, he says.
“Being one of 34 companies selected to demonstrate is an honor and it provides us with a tremendous platform to introduce the world to FlyMuch, ” he notes.
Read on to learn what Kamnikar’s previous job taught him, what feedback about FlyMuch convinced him to do, and how he got his latest venture off the ground.
Melanie McIntyre: When was FlyMuch founded?
Jim Kamnikar: Officially August 2009, but we began working on it in April ’09.
MM: Why did you start FlyMuch?
JK: We felt the pain ourselves– how many miles had we accumulated? What good were they to us? How many were we missing out on that we weren’t aware of?
MM: When you decided to launch FlyMuch, what were some of the first steps you took?
JK: We researched the market, determined what the business model was, and then we began writing the business plan.
MM: What resources did you utilize to get up and running?
JK: We retained an attorney to set up the company and a finance guy to help us with the projections.
MM: Did you have any local advisers, role models, or mentors you relied on for advice and input?
JK: We took input from everyone we spoke to or presented our concept to, allowing us to hone our pitch. That also pushed us in the direction of getting travel industry experience on our team.
MM: What were you doing professionally before launching FlyMuch?
JK: I was CEO and President of GoAntiques.com, which was acquired in October 2008.
MM: How has that work experience influenced the way you do business?
JK: It taught me everything I know about the Web, for one thing. I also learned how to build and manage a team. Surround your self with smart people and let them do their job.
MM: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
JK: When we gained back operational control of GoAntiques in 2003, it was running deep in the red. Cutting cost is a tough first step, as no one wants to let people go. We rallied the team by communicating early and often, putting forth clear goals, and monitoring progress on a daily basis.
MM: What advice do you have for others who are thinking of starting their own businesses?
JK: Try and understand the commitment and determination that it takes. It’s like climbing Everest in a T-shirt. Can you handle that?
MM: What’s the best thing about being your own boss?
JK: Helping to shape the vision, reacting to obstacles and finding solutions. You have to like being a problem solver.
MM: The worst thing about being your own boss?
JK: No one to blame.
For more information about FlyMuch, visit FlyMuch.com.
Melanie McIntyre has served as editorial director of The Metropreneur since its launch in 2010. She previously worked as a staff writer for a business and legal newspaper, where she wrote more than 500 stories about finance and real estate and development in Central Ohio. Since 2008, Melanie has worked on a freelance basis for several local entities, including Columbus Underground, where she is a featured writer. She also blogs about fashion, style, and pop culture at Thoroughly Modern Melly. Melanie is a graduate of The Ohio State University, lives in the Short North, and enjoys reading and running.
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