The beginnings of i:FAO reach back into the year 1977. Louis Arnitz did start the "Flugbuero am Opernplatz", later renamed into FAO Travel. FAO was mainly active in arranging travel for international artists. In 1987 FAO Travel began the transition to become a business travel specialist. FAO presented the first corporate hotel program in 1987, 1988 the first online booking capability for hotels and 1990 the first online reservation via ISDN. In 1992 FAO Travel, again as a first mover, offered management fees as a compensation for travel agency services on an annual basis. One year later the first travel management reports, documenting achieved and lost savings (Advantage reports) where started. i:FAO was connected for the first time to the Internet in 1994. In the same year the management re-aligned the company: The change process to become a technology firm was started.

In 1999 i:FAO founded a modern software development center in Sofia. From then on, FAO saw itself as a vendor for intelligent technology to help corporations, travel agencies and business travelers to book travel cost effective, comfortable and efficient. More innovations where to follow: FAO developed the "FAO Disk" in 1994 as the first hotel program software for Windows. The development of Internet technology for air, hotel and car bookings was started in 1996. 1997 comprehensive travel management functions where added to the product and the system completed in 1998. Since 2000 the software is marketed worldwide under the name of cytric.

In 1997 the 3i-Group (England) invested into FAO Travel. The company was changed into a shareholder company in 1998 and at the same time the name was changed to i:FAO. CEA Interactive (USA/Germany) and other investors participated in capital rounds. The shares of i:FAO are listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange since March 1, 1999 (ISIN DE0006224520). The change of the company to become a software developer accelerated after the IPO. In 2004 the operating business was combined into the i:FAO Group GmbH, a 100% subsidiary.

i:FAO is internationally active with locations in Germany, Austria and Bulgaria.