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Start-up treks towards success and growth with cloud computing

Start-up PinoyTravel’s cloud-based infrastructure is being sustained and powered by “start-up friendly” cloud computing services provider Amazon Web Services (AWS).

What company can decide to depend its entire business on the cloud?

Award-winning Filipino start-up PinoyTravel, no less, in its domestic bus travel reservation services on both the traditional Web and mobile platforms. Their cloud-based infrastructure is being sustained and powered by “start-up friendly” cloud computing services provider Amazon Web Services (AWS).

“We have been a happy user of AWS cloud services since we started,” said PinoyTravel founder and CEO Aurora Soriano. “We are confident that with AWS, we can achieve our business goals in a much shorter time frame with great ease as compared to the traditional IT way of spending capital and time on hardware infrastructure.”

Soriano began the company in August last year but PinoyTravel was formally incorporated in October 2013. It was borne out of Soriano’s incessant need for convenience in those large volumes of travel she made to domestic destinations while she was an officer of a leading telecommunications firm.

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“Why do we need to still fall in line just to buy a bus ticket?,” Soriano wondered. “I figured it was time to change it all.”
PinoyTravel

How it all started
She conceived the idea of having a centralized online booking and purchasing system for bus companies that will make lives easier for home-bound provincial residents and travelers visiting popular tourist spots. Thus, PinoyTravel was established for users to get their bookings and ticket purchases with just a few taps on the mobile app or clicks on the Web site.

PinoyTravel became one of the first incubatees of the Metro Pacific Group-backed startup incubator IdeaSpace, which has since provided the company with funding and business facilities. It has also received the award for “2013 IT Startup of the Year” from the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines or CyberPress.

Being such an innovative and promising enterprise, PinoyTravel’s success will certainly go leaps and bounds with the ideal technology infrastructure to push its services.

Ideal environment
Cloud computing provides that ideal environment for this fledgling yet impressive and helpful service for travelers going to such prized spots like Baler, Tuguegarao, Baguio, Manaoag, Dagupan, El Nido, Puerto Princesa, and the Bicol region (Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur) by just using their PCs or Android devices.

To offer such a convenient service, this IdeaSpace-incubated startup depend on faultless performance of its infrastructure while keeping their overhead at the minimum, with the additional comfort of accessing the network or monitoring activity wherever they are or through any device—benefits they continue to enjoy as a user of AWS.

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PinoyTravel is currently using Amazon EC2 virtual servers, Amazon S3 scalable storage, Amazon RDS relational database, and the Amazon CloudFront content delivery network to carry their entire 24/7 operations, set to ease the journey of thousands of local travelers and foreign tourists.  “We were able to experiment our ideas, iterate our prototype quickly and develop our solution within two months,” said Soriano.

Startup friendly
“Unlike other IT companies we evaluated, AWS is the most startup-friendly in terms of price, functionality and support.  The AWS team knows what startups need, how to work with startups and are attentive in listening to us,” Soriano added.

Using AWS cloud services as an underlying infrastructure to run its entire business has provided PinoyTravel peace of mind.  “We are happy with the robust performance and the flexibility that AWS provided for us to grow our business.”

As such, PinoyTravel can subsist on less manpower and still retain enterprise-class performance, and being assured of scalability and support as they expand and grow as a company. At present, PinoyTravel employs only nine people yet provide an outstanding service that satisfies the extremely large market of provincial travelers and bus company partners that ply their routes.

Bus partners
Since its inception as a business in October 2013, PinoyTravel has nearly a thousand completed transactions (booking to purchased seats) and six major bus companies as partners—DLTBCo, Cherry, Five Star, Genesis, Joybus, and Victory Liner. Genesis and JoyBus, specifically have shifted majority of their seat sales through PinoyTravel’s online service. The others are following the same track.

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“We target to service 200 routes this year by expanding our alliance with current partner bus companies and sealing agreements with new ones,” Soriano said.

With its current line-up of routes, especially the Manila-Baler-Manila, Manila-Baguio-Manila, Puerto Princesa-El Nido-Puerto Princesa, and the new Bicol routes, and the high-traffic travel season of Holy Week upcoming, PinoyTravel surely has its hands full.

But with its cloud-based systems built on AWS supporting their business, nothing is unwieldy even for a small team set to face a deluge of online transactions, given the always publicized horror of kilometric queues and chaotic struggle for bus seats.

“We are always ready for any challenge, without any fear of downtime in our system. We can always rely on the highly scalable AWS platform to perform more than what is expected of them,” Soriano declared.

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