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Tell HN: Virail – transport metasearch – from side project to company
10 points by disfasia on July 8, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 2 comments
Hello everyone,

I'm Dario, an 30yo IT (both Italian and Information Technology) developer.

I'm submitting my own story of moderate success, hoping to contribute to a community whose guidelines and ethics I appreciate and share, and to get in touch with people like me, expanding my very limited network of contacts.

Around 2013 I was broke because I used my savings to sustain myself while working for free for another, failing, project, and I was in a long distance relationship, my girlfriend at the time lived in Rome: I did whatever I could to save money, including comparing ticket prices for the 2 leading train companies who were running the Milan-Rome route.

As many IT guys, I'm a lazy ass, and as the task of comparing tickets was a recurring one, I decided to create a little script to fetch data from both sites to quickly check which one was the cheapest.

The idea was useful, so useful I decided to build a little web interface around it. Talking with an ex colleague, I also got some SEO advises.

In the following years, while being an employee for other random companies, I kept working on my project, because it made sense to expand the coverage to different routes and countries, as the problem was just the same everywhere.

As the traffic was naturally growing, it made sense to add also other transport means, like buses, planes and BlaBlaCar, as it was booming and perfectly fitting.

I met some business guys and together we founded a proper company, hired some people. Now it is a sustainable business with headquarters in Berlin and Milano.

I'm proud to say that virail is competing with big players such GoEuro, who is funded by 8zeros digits and counts 200+ employees. They are bigger, but it's flattering to think about the fact we are still comparable.

Also, if anyone is in need to suggestions on high scalable infrastructures, I'd be happy to share what costed me countless sleepless nights and save someone troubles.


Nice! Can you explain how your company makes money? Also, how did you fund the company's growth (did the partners invest capital or did you use the profit from operations, etc.?)

Hi prokes,

the business model is just the same of other metasearch: affiliation and ads. We bring traffic to transport companies, we get paid for that, without affecting the final ticket price. And ads.

The company was initially funded by my stubbornness only, along with a few bucks of server hosting. So far, never raised money, always self sustainable.

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