Skift Take

Chat-based apps that use real travel agents are getting a lot of buzz; we're interested to see how they will fit into the corporate travel space.

Hyper Travel, a startup that touted its app as “a personal travel concierge in your pocket,” has been acquired by the business network Tradeshift.

The name Hyper will go away as the service is being folded into Tradeshift Go, a just-launched virtual assistant for payments, expense management, and travel booking.

“After helping thousands of travelers, we are excited to join Tradeshift and provide our magical, conversational experience to a larger audience than ever before,” Hyper’s founders wrote in an email last week.

The company launched in late 2015 without much initial attention. Hyper’s app let users send a query and then directed it to a travel agent after using artificial intelligence to determine where it should be sent.

In a January story, Skift said the company was “among the first movers of travel apps with messaging capabilities to travel agents.” Lola, the app-based travel booking service from Kayak co-founder Paul English that features live interaction with travel agents, went live in May.

Tradeshift’s acquisition of Hyper closed in May; financial terms were not revealed, but co-founders Minqi Jiang and Peter Zakin are both now working for the new owner.

Tradeshift Go was announced in late June, and the company said Hyper Travel’s role is “powering the conversational [user interface] and travel booking assistant.”

“Tradeshift Go addresses the friction found in corporate travel, a spend category that is one of the largest, and least visible, for the mid-market,” the company said in an email. “As it addresses this challenge, it will provide finance teams with visibility and control, and end users with a simple and fluid way to get what they need, such as through the issuance of virtual credits for company purchases.”

Both the Hyper founders and Tradeshift expect the tool to reach beyond travel and expenses.

In an email, a Tradeshift representative said additional skills will eventually include legal, logistics, consulting and other functions.

“While we will continue to provide every business traveler with their own personal travel assistant, Tradeshift opens the doors for us to apply the technology and operations behind Hyper to entirely new industries,” the Hyper founders wrote. “In the months to come, we will be thoughtfully expanding our messaging-based travel experience to additional areas of focus.”

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: apps, travel agents

Photo credit: Hyper Travel was acquired by Tradeshift. Skift

Up Next

Loading next stories