Our story

Valisa is a mobile travel assistant built by Siarhei Lipchyk and Oleksandr Bystrikov. We are entrepreneurs, engineers, passionate travelers & photo enthusiasts.

Valisa team photo

Name

Valisa [vali:za] means a traveling bag, a suitcase in Ukrainian. The word valise is of French and Medieval Latin origin. We chose it due to its symbolism and simplicity.

Beginning

One sunny day in spring 2018, we had a relaxing lunch discussion about spontaneous budget travel and the struggle to find affordable deals. It turned out both spent hours and even days looking for decent inexpensive flights and hotels. Trying to save money, we neglected the most precious resource in our possession – time. Even though our travel preferences and holiday styles differ, we couldn’t find a service optimized to solve our planning problems quickly.

Comparing different providers’ travel options is way too hard if you are flexible on dates. Take Skyscanner: Berlin to anywhere results rarely come close to cheapest and fastest. And polling gazillion providers is slow, which makes the user experience poor.

Minutes, not hours

As summer was coming to an end, Siarhei prepared for a family holiday in Spain. He decided to improve his planning workflow using browser automation software and shared the script. Both liked the idea, both got excited, both saw a niche: reduce time spent planning the trip from hours to minutes. That’s how it started!

We quickly realized that we need to address the time, budget, and convenience issues. The concept was straightforward: find the cheapest days and pick the most suitable flights, preferably direct. Easy! Controlling the browser to fetch the data from your favorite travel website isn’t hard unless you have to scale. And we want to see millions using it.

Coding is easy

Things are simple but not simpler than we imagine them. Our browser automation saga continued. It took us a few months to conclude that our scripts were good to crawl the spreadsheet’s data but not stable enough for production use. That was a moment of re-evaluation and a perfect time to get inspired by new episodes of “How I built this” & “Indie Hackers” podcasts.

Lesson learned. We scoped down, prioritized, and focused on solving the core time issue. Web-app we built is a brutally simple fare finder. Discover new routes and get unbelievable deals. Just try it!

Future

At the moment, our core market is Europe. We improve the quality of search results and build the best-in-class user experience. Our goal is to make Valisa the fastest and most pleasant travel assistant ever created.

Last updated: 30 March 2021