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What it does: Mobile apps for travelers
Founder: Ben Kazez, 23
Based: Ann Arbor, Mich.
In August 2008, waiting for a flight from the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, Ben Kazez got sick of having to constantly check and recheck his boarding pass and gaze at departure screens. The computer programmer created FlightTrack, a mobile app that gives travelers flight-status updates, live maps, and weather news, among other information. Kazez launched his company, Mobiata, in November 2008 and created a fleet of travel apps for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, and Palm Pre users. The $5 FlightTrack helps fliers keep up with changing flight information, while the free HotelPal app lets users book rooms at thousands of hotels, including Ritz-Carlton and Hyatt, for which Mobiata receives a commission. Kazez says the 12-employee startup, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., had $1 million in revenue in 2009 and is on track to double the figure this year. The profitable company recently launched a mobile check-in site for AirTran (AAI) and plans to announce similar partnerships later this year. —LH