April 1, 2024

Crqlar: Get to Know the Judges’ Choice Startup at E20X Europe 2024

Written by Kaylee Sciacca

Get to know Crqlar, who won the Judges’ Choice Award for their software suite enabling hotels to maximize efficiency and improve guest experience at HFTP’s Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) competition co-located with Digital Horizons 360 in February. By connecting to a property management system and additional software stacks, Crqlar merges and cleans clients’ data to create a comprehensive guest profile. Those profiles allow for easy segmentation and details on how to deliver personalized experiences, driving customer satisfaction and revenue before guests even begin their stay. Crqlar Co-founder and CEO Fabian Rauch shares details on the company’s experience pitching at E20X, the inspiration behind their stand-out hospitality technology solution, and advice for startups who will participate in future competitions.

E20X returns for one more competition in 2024 at HITEC in Charlotte, North Carolina. Learn more on the E20X website.

What was the overall E20X experience like for Crqlar?

Attending E20X was a unique experience and a one-of-a-kind opportunity for us. It gave us the chance to connect to other like-minded potential business partners and get a peerless and multicultural view of the hospitality industry.

What did it mean to you personally to be an E20X winner and what did it mean for Crqlar as a whole?

We felt absolutely honored and knowing that our courage to work hard on our company's vision was recognized in this way gave us confirmation that we can revolutionize the hospitality market. It helped us realize even more now that our vision is correct and that we’re onto something big that can help the entire industry.

Tell us more about your company. What was the inspiration behind it? How has your company evolved since its inception? What are your future goals for the company?

We co-founders saw a huge gap in the market for software that enables hoteliers to use their guest data. Using existing data for marketing and personalized guest experiences is a key necessity nowadays in the luxury hospitality industry. The tools currently available are not built specifically for the industry, while Crqlar is.

We help hoteliers to better know their guests by cleaning and merging guest data from various sources on the one hand and subsequently creating actionable insights for staff members on the other hand. For example, a front office manager can offer the desired welcome drink to the guest and create a “wow” moment by touching on the guest’s emotions. This is a personalized experience at a luxury hotel. 

Since our founding in 2022, we have been able to gain some of the most well-known luxury hotels in the German-speaking and Italian regions as our customers, from whom we have also received valuable feedback. This enabled us to design the software exactly so that it meets our customers' exact requirements and construct a platform that is unique on the hotel software market.

Our upcoming goals include the successful closing of our seed round, hiring new people in sales and customer success, new market entries such as the Middle East and Spain and further development of our product including AI capabilities. 

What led to your decision to participate in E20X? What kind of impact do you believe this competition has on startups?

We chose to participate at E20X from a recommendation by EHL as part of their innovation hub. In addition, the unique approach of being more like a family as opposed to just a cohort and the possibility of pitching in front of the most well-known global hotel brands convinced us immediately.

Our sincere gratitude goes out to HFTP European COO Carson Booth who supported us through this journey. The special opportunities offered to us in Mallorca were not only a great help in understanding global brands and their needs but also in getting to know the fantastic people behind the scenes. We received a lot of positive feedback from the market.

Did you receive any advice from E20X that you have applied (or would like to apply) to the company? What was the best piece of advice you received?

We received a lot of very valuable advice at E20X about all our products, especially related to data merging and cleansing, AI and what actionable insights are of great help in an operation. We have included these directly in our product roadmap so that we can use them in the coming months. A really great piece of advice was to visit HITEC in Charlotte this June!

What tips would you give to other hospitality startups, particularly those who will be participating in E20X next year?

Based on our experiences, I'd like to share some essential advice of my own. First, it's vital to understand your unique value proposition and present it succinctly in your pitch. Innovative solutions that tackle genuine industry problems tend to attract judges and investors. Second, ensure you can clearly and briefly explain your business model, target audience and scalability. A clear presentation and profound market insights often resonate with judges. Third, use the networking opportunities at E20X to meet industry experts, potential collaborators and advisors. Establishing connections is just as important as the pitch itself.

Crqlar: Get to Know the Judges’ Choice Startup at E20X Europe 2024