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The cent of success: we interview young entrepreneur Elliott Donazzan

Young entrepreneur, Elliott Donazzan, is the founder of Australia’s first travel based penny auction website, One Cent Flights.

When I first came up with the idea for One Cent Flights I was still at school. I thought it could be cool to combine auctions and travel.

You’re only 20 yet this is not your first business venture. What gave you the idea for One Cent Flights?

ED. I actually started my first business when I was 17, selling gaming codes on an auction site. So this is actually my second auction-based business.  Since I can remember, I’ve had a passion for travel. This might have something to do with the fact that I have been lucky enough to travel the world because my dad is a pilot. When I first came up with the idea for One Cent Flights I was still at school. I thought it could be cool to combine auctions and travel.


TT. What do you like most about running your own company?

ED. Getting to work with such a wide range of people across different areas of business. I'm learning a lot and it just makes going to work so enjoyable. I also still really get a kick out of watching an auction. There's something nice about seeing your product in action.


TT. What has been the reaction from customers and airlines?

ED. The feedback we've had from our customers is really encouraging. People really get excited about the auctions, so at the moment we're focusing on making the bidding experience as engaging and exciting as possible. As for the airlines, we're actually creating demand for their product. We purchase all our flights at full price through our travel agent partner. Essentially our auction winners get premium airline tickets.

TT. Tell us about some of the more amazing bargains people have got with OCF.

ED. We often see domestic auctions ending at under $1. We never can tell just how low an auction will end. But more recently we've had a return flight to Bali go for $11.03 and a return flight to New York for just $4.06. Some of our customers have even won auctions using the five free bids that they get when they sign up.


TT. So how you are able to offer such cheap flights when airlines charge thousands for some of these tickets 

ED. We use a pay-per-bid auction model. So essentially you pay a small amount to bid. Each time a bid is placed, the auction price increases in set increments of one cent, and, just like a house auction, bidding continues until no one else wants to bid. The winner of the auctions pays the final auction price, and the up-front purchase of bids enables us to offer the flight at that price.


TT. So how do people get in on an auction?

ED. You just visit and sign up. It's free and you get five free bids when you sign up so you can check out how the auctions work.


TT. Are there any destinations that tend to get more bidders than others?

ED. It really just depends on the day and we really never can tell just how popular an auction will be. London and New York are often popular - we had that auction to New York recently that sold for $4.06, so there's always a chance you'll score a bargain.


TT. What have you got coming up that might be of particular interest?

ED. I'm hoping we might have a flight to Las Vegas for a group or something fun like that, but we'll see how we go. We're always trying to expand the range of destinations and travel packages on offer.


TT. As a young entrepreneur, what is your ultimate goal with OCF? Do you want to make millions and then sell it onto someone?  

ED . Who knows what the future has in store for One Cent Flights? I'm just trying to learn as much as I can from the experience.  Not many people go into business to make a loss, so making a profit is the end goal. But being able to give people the chance to score their dream holiday when they may otherwise not be able to afford it is a great thing. 


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Written by: Jon Underwood
Published: 28 March 2013

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