STARTUP STAGE: Eco.mio helps companies guide employees to choose greener travel options



in 2021, Eco.mio helps companies achieve their climate goals and bring travel
costs down using an add-on to existing booking tools.

The company has strategic partnerships with
Amadeus and with BCD’s corporate travel consultancy,

What is your 30-second pitch to

Eco.mio is a B2B
software-as-a-service business that helps companies achieve their climate goals and bring
travel costs down without introducing stricter travel policies. Through an
easily integrated add-on to the existing booking tool, employees get involved
to choose greener travel options and change their behavior. Emissions of
business travel are reduced by about 20%. 

Describe both the business and
technology aspects of your startup.

Eco.mio is a
browser extension that motivates travelers through nudging and gamification
features like points, rankings, as well as rewards, to opt for greener
alternatives. The tool displays incentives for employees on national and
international routes and enables them to directly compare their travel behavior
to their colleagues or team. Company rankings and a score indicating top green travelers
allow them to get an understanding of their performance. Companies can tailor
the nudges and rewards to their needs: donate generated savings to
environmental projects or directly reward conscious travelers. With this, Eco.mio
enables companies to achieve their climate goals and reduce travel costs at the
same time.

For the applied
solution, traveler and route data are analyzed with machine learning algorithms
and sustainability elements are transparently displayed for every booking
option. Eco.mio is thus able to customize nudges to the client and its users,
maximizing their impact.

Give us your SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of the company.


  • Eco.mio has strategic partnerships
    with booking tool provider Amadeus and BCD consulting arm Advito. Many features
    were co-created with a big industry player, ensuring deep insights into needs
    and requirements.
  • The founders team consists of three people
    with insider knowledge from heavy travel industries and software development.
    They are surrounded by an international, diverse and ambitious team with strong
    intrinsic motivation.
  • A reliable and scalable tech stack is
  • Covering global routes increases
    number of use cases.



  • A strict
    prioritization necessary due to temporarily small team. 
  • Also,
    the industry does not only consist of early adaptors, processes can take long.


  • The European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) forces companies to
    report and reduce business travel emissions while at the same time they feel
    the need to stay attractive for their employees.
  • The tool is highly configurable to
    customers’ needs.
  • Expansion possible to other business
    travel heavy markets like the United Kingdom and United States.
  • Extension of offering to new use
    cases, e.g., green hotels and to companies without booking tools.


  • Legislative environment could change
    and make it necessary to put focus differently in the long run (e.g. government
    forbidding short-haul flights).

What are the travel pain points you
are trying to alleviate from both the customer and the industry perspective?

Eco.mio creates
transparency about the emissions of different means of transport and playfully
converts them into incentives which: 

  • helps the
    customer change the behavior of their employees without introducing stricter
    travel policies, and 
  • supports the
    shift towards a more conscious business travel world by avoiding on average 20% CO2 emissions in business travel.

So you’ve got the product, now how
will you get lots of customers?

We have onboarded
six big consulting companies during the last months. Through our sales
strategy, we directly reach out to interesting customers and partners, and
persistence pays into our brand awareness.

Eco.mio is a
strong contributor to the business travel industry, e.g. hosting panel
discussions at the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Being active at
events and on LinkedIn resulted in inbound leads. 

In addition, Eco.mio
targets high-potential customers through highly personalized mailing campaigns.
After a demo, leads are hooked and interested in including other stakeholders
in the conversation to push towards a launch. 

Tell us what process you’ve gone
through to establish a genuine need for your company and the size of the
addressable market.

Business travel
accounts for around 50% of global travel and the resulting emissions. The CSRD is mandating companies to focus on
sustainability in travel and drastically reduce their CO2 emissions. At the
same time, they don’t want to introduce stricter travel policies because it is
already challenging to attract talent. All this leads to favorable market
conditions for Eco.mio.

  • Discovery: Eco.mio
    made 50+ discovery interviews with customers and users. In addition, a study
    with 130-plus travelers to understand behavior and motivation led to the
    promising observation that for a reward, 80% of travelers are willing to take a
    train up to six hours.
  • MVP: Co-creation
    with a large consulting company in order to understand and tackle the market
  • Beta Version:
    Pilots with four customers proved promising conditions and rewarding methods.
    Learnings can be applied to current customers.
  • Attractiveness of
    employers: Customers are given many options to customize the product to their
    needs and their employees in order to keep and attract talent.
  • Validity: For the
    calculation of CO2 emissions and savings, the new GATE4 standard of Advito is
    used, which is more accurate than conventional calculation methods, as they
    also consider plane type and airline.

Taking into
consideration heavy travel industries that use supported booking tools, Eco.mio
addresses a service available market of €15-20 billion.

How and when will you make money?

We work with a
yearly license model and already have our first recurring customers. There are
upselling opportunities with existing recurring customers, and we steadily work
on our ability to extend our product offering for future growth.

What are the backgrounds and previous
achievements of the founding team?

Sarah Benarey:
After working as a frequently traveling management consultant, Sarah joined the
climate protection non-governmental organization Atmosfair. Working closely with clients on offsetting
strategies, gaining deep knowledge in the industry, Sarah decided to co-found Eco.mio
to support companies in the actual reduction of business travel emissions.

Mario Blatter: With a background in electrical engineering and information technology
from ETH Zurich, Mario has always had a passion for merging business and technology.
As the president of Student Consultancy ETH Juniors, he helped bridge academia
and practical application. His experience working in engineering companies like
ABB not only provided him with industry insights but also reinforced his
ability to bridge the gap between technology and business.

Riederer: Kati’s inspiration originated from her own experience as a frequently
traveling strategy consultant at Roland Berger. Today she is particularly
proud to count her former employer as one of Eco.mio’s enterprise customers.
Kati has an academic background in micro and nanotechnology from ETH Zurich and
the University of Michigan, giving her strong tech knowledge. She’s been
featured in Forbes 30 under 30.

How have you addressed diversity and
inclusion within your business?

Our team consists
of people from seven different nations, located in six different cities in the world.
Diversity and inclusion are considered in every people-related decision that is
taken. We admit that is particularly hard for us to fill positions with female
talents in software development. Any recommendations? 

What’s been the most difficult part of
founding the business so far?

Eco.mio started
their journey with a co-creation with a large enterprise. For this, we received
first payments. It was hard to see that this first customer with a potential
annual contract value of over a million deprioritized the initiative due to a
change in their internal strategy. We almost had to start from scratch and
needed to push to quickly find new customers to validate. First, it was
devastating, but in the end, it allowed us to focus on building a product that
the market needs, not only one big customer.

Generally, travel startups face a
fairly tough time making an impact – so why are you going to be one of lucky

80% of business
travelers state that they would change their behavior if they knew the impact,
are guided to make the right choice and were rewarded with an attractive

This is where Eco.mio
comes into play and applies gamification and social behavioral science to
impact the decision-making where it is most promising.

A year from now, what state do you
think your startup will be in?

The team will
focus to onboard additional large companies for which a significant CO2
footprint is provoked by business travel. We aim to work even more closely
together with travel management companies and online booking tools. Eco.mio is constantly
working on improving their tool and offering a lot of customization
opportunities to increase their impact within companies and the industry. Another
promising use case is the unmanaged travel market, where people book trips
without booking tool. 

What is your end-game (going public,
acquisition, growing and staying private, etc.)?

We want to have
the greatest impact in reducing carbon emission in business travel while
building a sustainable company. More than anything, the well-being of our
highly dedicated team is important to us. We want to come far together for a
better future.

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