June 27, 2019

TripActions is Flying High – The History Behind My Early Bet on the Company Becoming the Default for Business Travel

If you haven’t heard in the news yet, TripActions raised $250M in Series D funding at a valuation of $4B today. I am proud to have been the main early backer of TripActions since incorporation and to participate in this latest round of funding.

The 4-year journey so far with TripActions co-founders Ariel and Ilan (and their growing team of 700+ globally) has been incredible. As I reflect back from the first lunch followed by coffee at Cafe Venetia, to my first investment with them 48 hours later, to now, I’m convinced more than ever that they’re rapidly becoming the default for business travel.

When I first bet on TripActions, there were no employees, no code, and no HQ. There was simply an idea so large, so visionary and so rooted in reinventing an industry ripe for innovation that I knew they were going places. The business travel industry is huge—because business travel is not only necessary, but also vital as more and more organizations of every size and industry realize the importance of being there, face-to-face, to develop meaningful and long-lasting relationships. Smart companies invest in their traveling “road warrior” workforce, knowing that employees who embark on work trips are huge drivers of business growth.

But unfortunately, legacy corporate travel platforms focused on the wrong things, all but ignoring the traveling employee and their experience. Until TripActions, the business travel industry was chock full of outdated travel tools that had horrible user interfaces, gaps in inventory (and pricing) when compared to consumer sites, and which only cared about the booking versus the end-to-end traveler experience. And organizations suffered with employees booking outside of company-preferred tools, all but ensuring finance leaders and travel program managers had no visibility into travel spend. The solution? Mandate the use of these legacy platforms that no one liked.

TripActions took a different approach, focusing on the user to create an experience employees actually love (and want to use). They made the booking tool incredibly user friendly and easy to use. They developed deep and broad partnerships to bring both traditional business inventory and consumer inventory together in a single app. They built in machine learning so that the experience was better and smarter every time. And they created a proprietary chat app that enabled them to proactively serve travelers 24/7 365 from the booking all the way the travel to when employees safely returned home from a work trip, no matter where that work trip took them. They reinvented the industry by creating the best global infrastructure, product and support to deliver the best experience in business travel.

Fast forward four years and it’s no surprise that TripActions is loved by enterprises and their travelers alike. In putting the user first and solving the pains experienced by the traveler, TripActions solved the challenges of corporate travel management for enterprises as well. In fact, where as many other tools see average traveler adoption of 50%, TripActions customers achieve 90%, and more importantly, they see traveler satisfaction at 93%. Choosing any other platform besides TripActions borders on fiscally irresponsible.

Despite their rapid hyper growth globally (they’ve grown from roughly 70 people in 2018 to more than 700 in nine offices around the world), I’ve been most impressed by how deeply embedded the focus on the user is within their mission-driven culture. It is a clear north star for the business as they make every decision based on the user/traveler. From being the first corporate travel company to release the Next Generation Storefront to their partnership with United to bring New Distribution Capabilities (NDC) content to life on their platform, their rapid pace of innovation in service to their customers and travelers continue to make it such that no other corporate travel management platform compares.

Congratulations to Ariel, Ilan and the rest of the TripActions team. I’m excited to see how you continue to transform the corporate travel industry by putting the user first.

– Oren Zeev, Zeev Ventures, Investor, Board Member