Posted on
February 26, 2024

A YC startup building a travel credit card

Arhan Chhabra
A YC startup building a travel credit card

Raised in Hong Kong by an Indian family while attending boarding school in the US, Arhan Chhabra developed a passion for travel, and more specifically, “travel hacking”. Witnessing friends struggle to qualify for premium travel cards due to age and fees, and even struggle to utilize points effectively, he saw a need. So did Max, and that’s how they co-founded Rove, the sole travel credit card designed for young adults.

What is your company doing and what was the pivotal moment that led to the creation of your business?

Growing up as a child, I was born and raised in Hong Kong to a family from India while attending boarding school in the US. Travel became a part of my regular routine very quickly. This led me into the world of ‘points-hacking’, also known as ‘travel-hacking’, which essentially consists of meticulously finding extraordinary deals using numerous credit cards, airline loyalty programs, and arbitrage opportunities. It started as a way to go home for the holidays and developed into an addiction to traveling the world in first class for free.

My friends would ask me how I would do this, and so I would suggest different credit cards they should look into applying for. Most, however, were declined by the big banks. It quickly became apparent to me that the majority of people my age – Gen Z young adults – simply do not qualify for luxury travel cards even if they are creditworthy. Furthermore, my friends who did qualify struggled to justify $700+/year annual fees. And even those that got past both those barriers rarely got value out of their points due to obfuscated systems and outdated software. When I met my co-founder, Max, who saw all the same problems in the space and wanted to build something to solve it, I knew this was something that was needed.  

Rove is the only travel credit card for young adults. Our cash-flow underwriting allows us to approve 40% more users than any other travel card with reduced default rates. Our unit economics are 30%+ better than any competitors due to our partnership with the most prestigious card network. And with the first ever airline miles travel portal, your points are worth 3 times more. With Rove, young adults can finally travel the world for free.

How do you identify and prioritize new growth channels?

We’re leveraging numerous partnerships to develop growth and distribution, all the way from working with a payment network to billboards in Times Square to partnerships with YouTube influencers.

Which tech tools, software, apps, etc. do you use religiously in your business?

All the classic startup stuff – Slack, ChatGPT, Notion, TickTick, etc

What was it like applying to Y Combinator? Did you have to practice your pitch, were you nervous, etc…

We had friends who had gone through the program, and another accelerator we were in gave us a good idea of what to expect. Specifically, we knew that the only thing to expect was the unexpected, as the interviews vary from interviewer to interviewer and case to case. So, we didn’t really prep much and decided we just needed to keep our answers concise, be confident, and have our own questions prepared.

Any advice to entrepreneurs wanting to get into YC?

Know your product inside out and have a plan B for everything!

Rapid fire questions

Favorite morning ritual  ☕

Snooze the alarm

Favorite book/s 📕

Brave New World

Your leadership style in one word 💼


Cats or dogs? 


Mountains or beach?


Morning person or night owl?

Night owl

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