“We see it as a great area to invest in as there is a deep talent pool and a lot of technology companies based in the region. We were lucky to find a smart team with experience in our industry and could hit the ground running,” says ATPCO’s Chief Product Officer, Jaivin Anzalota.
ATPCO, the airline pricing, content, and data distributor, is deepening its European presence with the planned opening of a product development center in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The new office joins ATPCO’s headquarters in Dulles, VA, along with its other outposts in London, New York, Miami, and Singapore. The primary focus of ATPCO’s Sofia development center will initially be run by five staffers, who will concentrate on enhancing the company’s retailing and Next Generation Storefront (NGS) capabilities. The plan calls for full staffing in the Sofia office of 15 people by the end of the year.
The NGS standard was unveiled in the fall of 2018 and underwent its first major expansion in October. One of the goals of last year’s enhancement involved increasing NGS’ footprint internationally.
The introduction of NGS was a response to the need for ATPCO’s airline owners’ desire to ensure that the bookings they offer on Global Distribution Systems operated by the likes of Amadeus, Sabre, Travelport, and others will be presented the same way on carriers’ branded websites. As described at the time, NGS serves as a seamless digital storefront in much the same way franchise locations of brick-and-mortar chains make sure that the offerings of a Starbucks in one city doesn’t appear dissimilar to one in a different place.
The choice of Bulgaria as the location for ATPCO’s development center was made based on the country’s rapidly rising tech and startup scene.
"This was a strategic decision for us, Bulgaria happens to be where the talent is in our space,” ATPCO Chief Product Officer, Jaivin Anzalota tells Kambr Media. “We didn’t take our decision to open this office lightly, we had previously worked with the team, so they are quite familiar with the intricacies of airline pricing and retailing data. We know their work and the quality they can produce. Overall, we see Bulgaria as an emerging technology capital that has the talent to deliver the complex solutions we need so it turned out to be a great fit."
The international expansion also reflects the changes in ATPCO two years after its acquisition of Routehappy.
That purchase gave ATPCO, the airline pricing, content, and data distributor, access to Routehappy’s “rich media” platform – i.e., interactive visuals that can be updated seamlessly and in “real-time.” The “real-time” aspect allows for targeted, personalized shopping offers for airline merchandising, such as seating, baggage check, food service, to name a few of the basics.
The team in Sofia will be led by Boyan Hristov, who previously worked on retailing and tax calculation projects for ATPCO. Hristov reports to Anzalota.
“The opportunity to join ATPCO and help to fundamentally shape its new retailing and NGS products was an offer my team and I couldn’t refuse,” says Hristov. “Working for a company so embedded in the airline industry made a lot of sense for me and my team. Our former work with ATPCO and understanding of the data enables us to hit the ground running and make a big impact with a great team.”