This is myTU’s first blog post and we are going to start with a confession.
Founding a travel-related business just as Covid-19 strikes is a panic-inducing experience. Many of our big plans became dust when holiday-makers and business travellers exchanged sunshine for the glow of Zoom meetings.
Even the most established companies – airlines, hotels, cruise operators and travel agents suffered; many folded. However, myTU is still here. Our technology buzzes and we already have over 5,000 happy customers at this early stage and are doing rather well. How can this be possible in such difficult market conditions?
Let’s start at the beginning.
Travel Union was founded by two experts whose vision and skill-sets compliment each other and who are both ready to meet challenges head-on as the situation demands.
TU’s co-founder and CEO is Raman Korneu, a specialist in banking and finance with 20 years of experience in senior roles (CFO and Partner) at international finance companies and banks. He holds a business administration master’s degree from the University of Cambridge.
We also have Tomas Navickas who is CTO and co-founder. He is an IT and technology professional who specialises in building and optimising financial technology solutions. Over the past 22 years Tomas has planned and built large-scale systems, infrastructure and fintech solutions for major banks and financial institutions.
So the expertise is in place, but is it enough when conditions change?
TU’s original vision was to create a new digital banking platform – a niche digital bank that connects a wide network of service providers and consumers. More specifically, we wanted to make an innovative banking and payments solution for families and travellers and serve the rapidly growing tourism industry.
However, the travel and tourism industry disappeared entirely just as we were granted an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license by the Bank of Lithuania and just as our technology was ready to launch.
Did we panic? We consider ourselves to be calm, level-headed professionals, but we did not sleep well.
Luckily TU has a close-knit team and we pulled together to look intently with new eyes at what we were doing. The idea was to create a modern, easy-to-use, secure and, most importantly, money-saving banking platform to make lives easier for travellers and families.
Families are the beautiful bedrock of society and therein was the key to the survival and growth of our business during the initial phases. Global travel was paused temporarily, but family units will always need ways to effectively manage and improve their finances.
This is the aspect of the vision we stepped up and concentrated on. Travel Union’s mobile banking platform – myTU – combines mobile banking for travellers with other aspects of daily life, such as managing family finances. And this is the aspect of our business that is currently experiencing the most growth.
myTU is designed for the whole family and was created with the experiences of real parents in mind.
Parents can freely set up as many additional accounts for their children as they want, complete with separate IBAN numbers and the child’s own funky debit card. The process is optimized to be extremely easy and, most importantly, is completely safe.
Travel Union’s mobile app is a great way for children to gain an understanding of money and responsible personal finance, and to take a small step into the adult world, while at the same time having fun. Meanwhile, parents have a worry-free experience because they can make sure the purchases their children make are safe and within budget limitations. Furthermore, a flexible level of autonomy and trust can be granted as long as the parent feels this is appropriate.
The platform offers a solution for parents with busy schedules and makes family finances much easier to manage. myTU’s app is a great lifestyle tool to safely teach children financial literacy and strengthen their independence and self-confidence. myTU also offers many convenient features for adults to save on daily banking expenses.
We are still cautiously optimistic for the future of the travel industry and to be able to focus on this aspect of our business. Summer is approaching in the northern hemisphere and social distancing and vaccines seem to be working as intended. We hope travel restrictions will be lifted soon and that people can enjoy their lives to the fullest extent once again.
TU’s ultimate goal is to become an ecosystem for travellers and travel partners. The ecosystem will unite travel service providers and offer discounts, last-minute or exclusive travel deals and the opportunity to cover costs with our unique #TIME loyalty points.
Users of myTU’s mobile banking app can already enjoy the benefits of having a card that allows payments across the world without paying any commission and earning non-burning and transferable #TIME loyalty points on every card purchase.
As the global situation improves, you can be sure that Travel Union will be at the forefront of doing everything we can to help the travel industry get back on its feet.
Travel Union offers free digital banking and child-friendly financial services in a time of great challenges.
As a fintech startup we are grateful for having the advantages of being in a business that can operate remotely, gain customers and onboard remotely and be able to adapt, and even thrive, in these somewhat harsh market conditions.
We are proud to serve the financial needs of families with children and look forward to further implementing our mission as a family-friendly travel banking platform.