Locomote founders, Ross and David Fastuca

Locomote: From kitchen table to world stage

Sylvia Pennington

Back in 2012, Ross and David Fastuca were mulling plans to develop an online platform to make corporate travel management simpler and cheaper for companies.

Fast forward four years and the cousins’ bright idea has morphed into Locomote – a thriving operation employing 55 staff, which counts the likes of ANZ, Medibank and World Vision as customers.

Along the way the pair has snared a partnership with Japan Airlines and sealed a deal with publicly listed US travel technology giant Travelport to acquire a majority stake in the venture.

So how did the Fastucas manage to locomote their start-up from dining room table to the world stage in such a short space?

Passion – and ensuring that what they built was something other businesses would want to use and pay for, Ross Fastuca says.

That meant chewing the fat with a string of senior executives and inking deals with heavyweight customers before, not after, they developed their solution.

“We took the time and really listened to the industry – we didn’t jump in too quickly."

“We learned that corporates hadn’t had a good user experience and they wanted a better one,” Fastuca says.

“We took the time and really listened to the industry – we didn’t jump in too quickly.

“As entrepreneurs, you try to make sure that what you’re going to deliver is successful before you start, or pour a whole lot of money into it.

“So we looked at our concept and said, ‘are we actually solving a real world problem? And from there we pitched a prototype and developed a system with our foundation users already on board. Those deals, in turn, brought us to the attention of Travelport.”

Not sure if your own bright idea has such great legs? Time to get out there and present it to as many people as possible.

“Don’t be scared someone is going to rip off your idea because if you’re passionate about it you will build it,” Fastuca says. “Get as much feedback as possible before you start.”

“Two people can’t build a company – find the right people to deliver the vision that you’ve created.”

Amassing a top team and pursuing partnerships that enable you to leapfrog your way into the big league can also be the difference between dreaming and doing.

“Two people can’t build a company – find the right people to deliver the vision that you’ve created,” Fastuca says.

Expect more manic growth as the Locomote team leverages its Travelport connection to go gangbusters globally, he adds.

“We know we’ve got a product that addresses a business problem across the corporate sphere so for us it’s now about getting systemised so we can scale up quickly.”

Sylvia Pennington

Sylvia Pennington is a Brisbane-based freelance journalist who writes about small business, information technology and personal finance.

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