Gareth Williams

CEO, Skyscanner

Biography

Born in Norwich, Gareth was a globetrotter from an early age spending his upbringing in Sussex, Canada and Switzerland. The family learned to ski from a book and while his brother became a ski instructor in Val d’Isere, Gareth became obsessed with computers going to Manchester University to study mathematics and computing.

Going on to work as a programmer for hire, Gareth became annoyed that it was so difficult to find cheap flights to visit his brother in Val d’Isere. Combining this frustration with an appreciation of the nascent Google he worked on the idea of an easy-to-use way of tracking down the best travel deals.

Starting with an excel spreadsheet of destinations and prices, Skyscanner began as an underground project which grew by word of mouth. As hits to the site rose exponentially, Gareth and his 2 co-founders, Bonamy and Barry, realised they might have a winner and gave up their day jobs. Putting their own money into the start-up, they launched the site officially in 2003.

Skyscanner is now a global brand employing over 300 people and offers flight searches in 30 languages, with over two-thirds of its business from outside the UK. Traffic currently comes to the site from over 230 countries, 44 of which have 50,000 or more visits to the site per month, and receives 32 million visits per month worldwide on the site and mobile apps. Its multi-award winning mobile app has been downloaded over 25m times since launching in February 2011 and at one stage topped the free travel app category in 47 countries.

With a head office in Edinburgh, Skyscanner has offices in Barcelona, Singapore, Beijing and Miami.

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