Tired of travelling economy? Upgrade! an interview with founder Craig Unsworth
Miron BykovLondon - 11/11/2019
Today we spoke to Craig Unsworth, co-founder & CEO of Upgrade Pack
Upgrade Pack, co-founded by Craig in 2018, is trying to transform the way travel upgrades are attained by the most valued customers and employees of the world’s most innovative companies.It provides access to exclusive and discounted travel upgrades in an easy-to-use app made available through your bank, credit card and/or employer.
Tell me about the day the idea wasw born. The idea was born in New York in 2015. Looking down upon the city from my business class seat when coming into land, I began to reflect on how lucky I had been to work in companies that always provided business or first class seats on all of my trips. My gaze soon fell upon our business class area where only half of the seats had been taken.
About a year later, while working in Switzerland, I was presented with this as a commercial challenge again when working with hotels and airlines. I remember thinking there’s so much capacity that exists here!
Fast forward to 2017, I was building technology for a bank to give their best customers rewards and benefits. Having mastered this, I was then able to set up my business and create a product that delivers value in equal measure to users, banks and airlines/hotels.
What was the biggest turning point in the life of Upgrade Pack? This was at the end of 2017; it was the moment of now or never. I recognised that technology was dramatically changing the world of airlines, hotels and banking and I could help deliver value across all three.
Having helped my previous company go public, I decided to leave and pursue the dream of running my own company.
Three top tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:
Never do it alone – find a co-founder (even if it takes a number of years)
Do what you love
Get the right people – don’t hire cheap, inexperienced people
What gets you out of bed every morning? I’m an early riser and like to get a head start on the day. Additionally, at the end of each day I make a list of goals for the next, never finishing with my day until I have completed everything I set out to do the day before. I’m also most competitive against myself rather than others, always looking to outperform what I accomplished yesterday.
What did you want to be when you were little? Well, it’s every boy’s dream: an IP barrister in order to sue people for intellectual property theft. I also wanted to be a star architect, but then realised that it takes 12 years of studying!
Favourite Disney character: It would have to be two for this one:
Mulan – as she’s not an actual princess and is still loved by everyone
What is Upgrade Pack planning for the world next? We will be expanding internationally, opening an office in North American and Singapore.