Finding Opportunities in Adversity: How a 20-Year Journey Led to Spotnana’s Founding and Success

Founder and CEO Sarosh Waghmar has been working toward building Spotnana for most of his career. Now, Waghmar is on a mission to modernize the infrastructure of the travel industry from the ground up.

Written by Brigid Hogan
Published on Jun. 20, 2023
Finding Opportunities in Adversity: How a 20-Year Journey Led to Spotnana’s Founding and Success
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While Spotnana’s official founding is dated to 2020, Founder and CEO Sarosh Waghmar’s journey with the company has spanned more than 20 years.

Following the 2001 dot-com crash, Waghmar’s outlook was bleak — his first startup had folded, and the job market had little opportunity to offer. The situation went from bad to worse following an apartment fire that resulted in the loss of all his belongings.

“What kept me going was a Yahoo Group that I had created, which was dedicated to finding the best deals and rewards programs in travel,” he said. “My passion for delivering the world’s best travel experiences led me down the path of creating multiple travel companies.”

Through his first two travel ventures, Waghmar told Built In that he constantly encountered a major barrier to delivering superior travel experiences at scale: “The underlying plumbing that powers the industry was ancient and had been fundamentally broken for a long time.”

This sparked his mission to build an entirely new infrastructure for the travel industry as a whole, and Spotnana was born. “At the core of this effort was a desire to build a platform for the entire industry to use,” Waghmar said. “Rather than building higher walls and closed systems to keep others out, we decided to create an open, cloud-native platform and invite everyone in. Offering our platform to anyone who wants to add travel bookings to their product suite has enabled us to grow very quickly in a short amount of time.”

Built In sat down with Waghmar to learn more about his plans for Spotnana to — in his words — “accelerate innovation across the travel industry and power a new generation of exceptional travel experiences.”


Sarosh Waghmar
Founder & CEO • Spotnana

Who did you look to for inspiration early on and why?

I looked to Steve Singh, the former CEO of Concur and our board chairman. Steve had successfully built a multi-billion-dollar business, and he viscerally understood the unmet needs across the travel market. 

Steve taught me that as an entrepreneur, you need to look at things piece by piece. There are so many layers to build as you continue to scale, and each stage is a different journey. It’s less overwhelming if you take things one step at a time. As a leader, Steve knows how to bring out the best in people.

“We created Spotnana to accelerate innovation across the travel industry and power a new generation of exceptional travel experiences.”


What scared you the most during your first few years as a founder?

During the early stages of Spotnana, what scared me — and continues to scare me — was the possibility that we would fail to realize our potential. I remind myself and our Spotters across the globe, that if it wasn’t hard, someone would have done it already and to not let the fear of failure cloud our opportunity. I believe that the sky is the limit for Spotnana. We alone are in charge of our destiny. 

We shouldn’t measure our success against the achievements of others because our path and our challenges are unique. The truth is that life isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. I want us to focus on running our race to the best of our ability. In the end, it is all about execution.


What’s next for Spotnana?

This year is an essential year for Spotnana. We’ve built something completely new that we call a Travel-as-a-Service platform, and we’re experiencing incredible demand from a wide range of companies. 

We’re working directly with some of the world’s largest corporations, and we’re building partnerships with incredible technology providers like Brex as well as other travel management companies and travel suppliers. The announcements that are coming will change the travel industry forever.

This year is all about execution for us. We are fortunate to have an incredible group of investors who have supported us from day one, and we must deliver on the faith they’ve placed in us. 

I am grateful to our entire team for everything they’re doing each day to help us reach our goals. Our people build Spotnana, and we would not be where we are today without their dedication and passion for helping billions of people form deeper connections through shared in-person experiences.


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