Build a brand, not a product.

Thorvald Stigsen

Working with a team of coders, I established Momondo in 2006 as a free, independent online flight search website offering full price transparency across the market.

Prior to Momondo, I had founded Skygate, a travel solutions company for large corporations, in 1992. Skygate managed clients’ corporate travel budgets and designed point of sales and customer relationship management systems for big business travel agencies.


At that time, the airline industry was dominated by big players who sold directly and through travel agencies. After a few years, the European Union liberalised the airline industry and as a result, the airfares as well. New private airlines came in where once only the national carriers operated. The former started disrupting the industry with their cost advantages. Many of these new lean start-ups started selling online directly to flyers, forcing the nationalised carriers to follow in their footsteps.


We were operating in a B2B market but decided to go B2C. At the same time, American companies, like Sidestep and Kayak, had become very popular in the US using similar business models. I decided to invest in a new search technology in 2003. It was finally developed and launched in 2006.

Around the turn of the millennium, the IT bubble had burst, leading to a lot of tech employees getting fired globally. In 2001, a similar German startup went bust. I too had to fire a lot of people from Skygate to balance costs.


To start up Momondo, I invested three million kroner from my company funds. It was difficult for me to fail. I had to perform and take calculated risks. There was no other way it could be. Thus, I developed the ruthlessness needed to grow. Many other entrepreneurs just keep looking for others’ money, and once they have that, they don’t develop the same ruthlessness as they would if they invested their own money.

Thorvald Stigsen facts

Partner. Prefers Kingdoms of the past but keeps an eye for all new. Founder of Momondo.