Lucid Travel, a business that provides a software solution to travelling sports teams, was launched in August of 2017. Started by Ben Knosby and Nick Karagiannis, the current CEO and COO respectively, are both chemical engineering majors that graduated from NC State in 2015.
The company now provides a slew of services in their one-stop online platform and has connected with some powerful partners.
“It’s a travel software solution for sports teams where we provide aggregate rates from top sites, exclusive discounts and A-plus service,” Knosby said.
Having worked together in school projects on the same major track, Knosby and Karagiannis dabbled in different business endeavors, but the idea for changing their small consulting company known as “Lucid Solutions” into “Lucid Travel” was formed when they decided to go skiing in Colorado.
“In 2014, Nick, myself, and seven other guys went on a trip to Breckenridge, Colorado for spring break and we were clueless on how this all worked," Knosby said. "From the plane tickets, car rental, organizing ski lift tickets, and the lodging. We went through this package company and we paid them one price and they figured out everything for us. Then we realized, they gave us a little bit of a kickback as the organizer and maybe this is a way to make some money.”
As Lucid Travel started out with this rough idea of providing an online travel solution for groups of people, they had a few big hits with the vacation package deals but quickly realized the complexity and problems with their current business model and service.
“We came up with this idea around sports teams because there’s not an inclusive way to organize and purchase travel for sport teams, especially with software,” Knosby said. “There’s a lot of travel agencies, but there isn’t a Priceline or an Expedia for sports team travel with a software system to manage it all.”
Having spoken to several club sports administrators and players on the teams, they realized the teams have to manage all aspects of travel themselves. Club sports have no centralized system to browse or compare rates, track compliance, and look at receipts. The confusion and disorganization is what Lucid Travel looked to solve.
“If we can build a solution that helps to automate the struggles with travel. From administrative approval to receipt consolidation as well as finding the lowest price on the market, then that’s a useful and scalable product.” Karagiannis said.
This idea launched in August 2017 and they only had five universities on board. That number grew to 20 university partners the following September. The number continued to double each semester putting them near 150 university partners as of now. They attributed their exponential growth to experience and having the right team with the right mindset. Lucid Travel is aiming to double the size of the business again with the current team.
Aided by new team members and new insight, they grew faster, improved tech, and shifted their day-to-day mindset. Keeping a small team with only three full-time positions, they bring on frequent contractors for tech and operations.
In expanding their customer base while the size of their business increases, Karagiannis commented on their targets.
“Instead of only serving college club sports we’re trying to get into the youth sports and event directors space who coordinate lodging and hotels so we can provide them the software to help them track bookings, compliance, and also make money. Youth sports might end up being a core sediment of the business given its current potential.”
This testing in different niche markets is only part of how they plan to move forward. Speaking of the main goal, their product, Lucid Travel still has farther to grow through partnerships and referrals.
Speaking to the company’s name and culture, Knosby explained the original branding that they’ve kept over time.
“All that “Lucid” means is simple, clear, and concise. That’s all we think about with anything we do” Knosby said. “We’re doing something that we see benefit in and it feels good when we sign on big partners because we know that they love it, that they’re interested, and it’s going to be beneficial for themselves and the players. It’s just a great feeling.”
If students have travel plans for their team or with their friends, Lucid Travel has a university booking page for NC State students, staff, and alumni with exclusive non-public discounts. Students can view their website here for further information.