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Travel start-up Seatfrog raises $8 million to let more people score upgrades

Sydney-based travel start-up Seatfrog, which lets travellers bid for premium seats on planes and trains, has raised $8 million from UK-based venture capital fund Octopus Ventures.

The business offers airlines and train companies a way to make money from their empty luxury seats, with the start-up estimating that about 37 million of business and first-class seats are not filled across the world’s top 30 airlines and another 480 million just with Europe’s top seven rail service providers.

Seatfrog co-founder Iain Griffin had the idea for the company after an experience where he was willing to pay $1000 to upgrade a flight for a work trip from business class to first class so that he could test out the plane’s on-board shower. In this instance, he had already been upgraded, but he realised this was a missed revenue opportunity for the airline.

Speaking to The Australian Financial Review, Mr Griffin said for passengers, upgrading seats was a process “full of friction and confusion”, meaning a lot of seats go to waste.

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