Business name: One Cent Flights
Sign up for SmartCompany newsletter.
Free to your inbox every weekday
Donazzan became interested in the concept of online auctions while running an eBay-based business in school.
He then persuaded his cousin to join him and launch One Cent Flights in January this year and is forecasting $1 million revenue next year.
The site works by putting flights up for auction with users able to make a non-returnable bid in increments of one cent. First, they must buy blocks of credits, with $1 buying one credit, which equals a single one cent bid.
Much like eBay, the real action is at the pointy end of the auction – bids in the final 10 seconds re-set the auction countdown clock to nine seconds, until a winner emerges.
One Cent Flights is currently putting three or four flights up for bids each day, with a travel agent partner fulfilling the bookings. This arrangement means that the bargain airfares (a return flight to London recently went for $43) results in a loss to Donazzan until the site gains critical mass.
The student is confident of hitting this goal, having invested in an advertising campaign splashed across 125 trams in Melbourne and assembling a six-strong management team that adds experience to his youth. The team has already secured investment from a number of high net worth individuals, with a further fundraising round set for next year.
“I think my age has been a benefit, if anything,” Donazzan says. “Rather than being someone who says ‘I have this idea and I want money’, I can say ‘hey, I’m young, I’m at uni and I just want a chat about my idea.’”
“At the moment, Australia is the priority, but I’d love to expand to Asia as soon as we can. The concept has got great potential.”