The Pluto June update

Hey there,

It's the end of June and we wanted to share what we've been up to. It now feels like there's light at the end of the tunnel for some international travel, which is very exciting.

Stepping back though, the last month's unjust murders in the USA have reminded us again about the systemic and institutionalised racism that Black, Asian and minority ethnics face daily. This is especially true in our industries, travel and tech. So we wanted to use this update to talk about what we're doing as a business.

If there's one thing you do for Pluto this month, please just read our committed actions towards antiracism, diversity and inclusion and share this with someone you know who's running a business. Ask them to commit to action and sign our pledge. With over 850 investors and our thousands of customers receiving this, you could have an enormous impact through a simple action. Click to quickly share by email, Twitter or WhatsApp.

This is what else we'll be covering in this update:

  • Intention to become a B-Corp
  • Traveller perceptions and border re-openings
  • Some new partnerships
  • Bounce back loan

And, if you're wondering where we are with Pinboard. We're hoping to release it in the next few weeks to our early access users. Keep an eye on our Instagram for the latest updates.

Taking action to be an antiracist, diverse and inclusive company

The challenge, as so many in the Black community have rightly pointed out now and many times in the past is that we must sustain action indefinitely. Beyond the time when the headlines and hashtags are gone. To continue pushing for change and enacting change.

We're confident that the best way to sustain action is to have a concrete plan of actions you're committed to. Some that can be done immediately but many that stay with you into the future, indefinitely. We want to outline how we're taking action as a company.

We're an all-white, all-male and privileged team. We don't face systemic and institutionalised racism. But people, like the Black community, face this daily. We want to help try to solve this. We must use our privilege to fight racism, improve diversity and foster inclusion. We must now start to be part of the solution. To start being an antiracist company. As Willie Jackson put it, we must be an "accomplice" and not just an ally.

Read our full post explaining why we must take action, why we're publicising this, where we're focusing our efforts, a snap of diversity in travel and tech and the actions we're committed to taking.

And our final action, a pledge, that we're sharing with other startups in our community to take action themselves. We acknowledge we're a small company and we can have a much bigger impact if we can encourage other startups to take action as well. Again, please share this with someone who is running a business and would find this useful. Click to quickly share by email, Twitter or WhatsApp.

Intention to become a B-Corp

If you read the section above then you may have seen this as one of the actions we're taking as a business. This is obviously much broader than antiracism, diversity and inclusion, but it's also something we've always wanted to do. With everything going on right now, we feel like this is the best time to solidify our companies purpose, to do good.

If you're not familiar with B-Corp, then in their own words: Certified B Corporations are a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. This is a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good.

Essentially, it means that we formally commit to considering the impacts of our business on wider stakeholders as well as shareholders. It allows our investors to hold us to account for ensuring that we're considering other stakeholders.

There is a certification process that we must pass first and a very small on-going cost. Importantly, it won't add excessive bureaucracy or reporting to the company. We also know it will have a big positive impact on consumer and employee perceptions of the company, so there's a strong economic argument for this decision.

We've reached out to a number of our investors and to Seedrs, who represent our crowdfund investors, and we've had overwhelming support to pursue this, so thank you. But, please let us know if you have any questions.

Traveller perceptions and border re-openings

With more and more European countries opening up week on week, we're starting to see a much more positive environment for UK travellers. However, with an active 14 day quarantine and the FCO still advising against essential travel anywhere, it's not over just yet. We are anticipating a number of air bridges to be announced very soon though.

As we hinted at last month, we did a travel survey with 240 of our customers and the results were very interesting and overwhelmingly positive. You can see the full write up from Harry here. Harry explains what we heard from the people we spoke to and importantly about how it might shape travel for them in the future. Some of the themes include a focus on more mindful travel, domestic travel being here to stay, and an increased demand for culturally rich experiences.

With the positive changes slowly taking place, we've begun to prepare the travel insurance part of the business for when people start to travel again. Importantly, we'll be addressing all the questions we expect travellers to have when thinking about what travel insurance means for them while Coronavirus is still affecting the UK and other countries.

Some new partnerships

One of the realities to the on-going Coronavirus crisis is that some startups, including us, don't have the normal volume of traffic, sales, customer service. The upside is that this gives us time to focus on other things. So many businesses are using this time wisely to be in an even better place for when things do return to normal.

So, we've been speaking to new companies to work with, who like us, see the immense value in travel insurance in a post or even mid-Coronavirus world. We're very happy to announce recent new partnerships with:

  • Jacks Flight Club - with over 1m members, they email their community the very best flight deals every day
  • Emma - one of the top money management apps in the UK
  • Canopy - helping to make it cheaper, faster, and easier to rent a home
  • Huckletree - popular London based co-working space

Bounce back loan

We successfully applied for the governments Bounce Back Loan where we were able to secure a loan of £50k. This loan is being taken as a future precaution only. For instance, if we needed an extra 1-2 months to complete a fundraise next year due to a delay caused by Coronavirus, then we could rely on these funds to extend our runway. If the funds aren't required in the next 12 months, then we'll aim to pay it back before the first interest payment.

That's all for this month, thanks for reading.




The two co-founders of Pluto, Alex & Harry.