Frog Blog

TELL Series – Andy Phillipps

By Joe Krancki

Only an entrepreneur could, with a Cambridge phD and INSEAD MBA, declare themselves unfit for academic work. Given Andy Phillipps’ success in founding, now the fastest-growing global travel company, his revelation to the TELL audience that he scored 1 (that’s 1 up from 0) on INSEAD’s Entrepreneurship module has us convinced INSEAD need to re-write their module.

Andy co-founded Active Hotels, then one of the first online hotel bookings services, in 1999. The company was sold to Priceline for $160m in 2004, where Andy served as CEO until 2006. Under Andy’s leadership, Active Hotels bought and rebranded as, which now has a $2bn EBITDA, $50m market capitalisation and is one of the world’s biggest travel businesses. Following Active Hotels, Andy became a serial start-up investor and co-founder, joining Toptable (now OpenTable), Reevoo, Greentraveller and i2O Water, as well as serving as Chairman of Yplan and PayasUgym.

The more start-ups Andy works with, the less he is certain which metrics spell success. His intuition honed during a 360° journey through the start-up world, from engineer to founder to corporate CEO and then back to the drawing board, ultimately it’s the dynamism of the entrepreneur that decides the venture’s fate, he told us.


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