One year. This is what we told ourselves and our respective partners. We would take one year to recharge and reset and ensure we were free of any conflicts. We owed it to them after a rollercoaster of ups and downs, of tears and triumph. As of this week, one year will have elapsed since our journey with Left Technologies came to an end, the company we co-founded and poured our hearts into for more than a decade.

Yes, we dabbled a bit here and there since last summer. We pulled together a consortium to acquire the assets of Left Technologies after its valiant struggle to survive. Once acquired, we kept monetizing, we caught our breath, and we watched the world unfold.

But now, the wait is over, it is time to soar… upwards.

Left Travel will become UpNext Travel Later in 2021 as we evolve our platform and brands.

We are building a decentralized travel marketplace to connect travelers to property owners and managers. This marketplace will operate under the Rent By Owner brand and be available in multiple languages and geographies around the world, operating on more than 50 unique domain names. The pandemic has highlighted how inefficient the existing travel ecosystem really is, especially in the short-term rentals market. This inefficiency manifests into higher fees absorbed by travelers, resulting in less travel being taken and less memories being made. When Left Travel becomes UpNext, we will build an efficient market in which travelers can connect directly to the property owner or manager, seamlessly transact and trust, and worry less about whether the place they book will meet expectations. Rent By Owner will be for travelers, by owners.

We believe that better memories are made when we foster better travel.

We will be talking and sharing a lot more of our vision soon and our belief in this statement, but we wanted to start here with these thoughts and this post. This blog entry will be added to a few more blog posts written over the past year (backposted to the time when they were written), as they help to paint the picture for this next chapter and the journey that has led us to create our ‘why’.. This includes:

Being better means not settling for good enough. Being better means exceeding expectations. Better implies we can improve on the negative impacts of travel while enhancing the positive. We also believe that because travel connects us to other people, other places, and to new ideas, the world grows closer the more we interact and travel. Thus, if we can make travel more efficient, more people will be able to travel, meet new people, expand horizons, and enhance understandings. Thus, when we build a more efficient marketplace, we will create more travelers and create more memories worth sharing. This is our north star.

We are still known as Left Travel Inc formally, but we will soon be rebranded to UpNext Travel and both this current Left Travel website as well as that of Left Technologies will be pointed to this new site. We do want to keep some elements of the old Left website operational as those stories and those memories are worth holding onto, even with this new beginning. UpNext will be operating five primary brands that will evolve in the coming weeks, months, and years:

  • Rent By Owner – For Travelers. By Owners. This is a more efficient marketplace for travelers to find and book short term rentals.
  • Hotala – Connecting travelers, particularly those traveling internationally, with better accommodation and travel choices
  • Varoom – For things to see and do on the journey itself.
  • Charters – For luxury experiences, transport, and one-of-a-kind memory making
  • OneDegree – We believe we can (and must) encourage the world to travel sustainably.

Just before the pandemic began, Left had been repositioned itself as a company that enabled “Travel with Purpose.” We believed then and still do today, that the best companies should be measured by not just their bottom line, but on their overall contribution to the world. The core values we espoused helped us create a new kind of company that was recognized locally, nationally, and even internationally as being “Best for the World” in how we treated our team, how we participated in the community, and how we tried to model what we wanted to see in the world. These values were inside us, and while Left itself is no longer, we will carry forward those ideals into UpNext.

After ten years, there was a lot to be proud of in that which we created. We were proud of what we had built at Left, Left Travel, and the other companies and projects we were involved with along the way. We were proud of our team, both in Canada and in Bangladesh. We were proud of the innovation and technology we had created, including our approach to data-driven marketing and our breakthroughs in mesh connectivity. We were proud of the impact we made in our community and other companies, including inspiring others to join the B Corp movement.

A year ago, we would have also said that we have a lot of regrets: regrets for projects unfinished, or objectives unmet. However, every decision made in the past has brought us to where we are today, to a place of optimism and hope for what comes next. Everyone has a choice to live in the past, to dwell on what might have been, or to look up and forward. Life is about what is up next.

In the beginning, we went left. Then we went right. But this next chapter keeps our values alive yet aligned towards a new direction.


John, Chris, & Rakib