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TripAdvisor’s self-described mission is to create the perfect trip — and business travelers take a lot of those trips.
An exploration of its possibilities in business travel might be behind TripAdvisor’s decision to be the lead investor in a $5.2 million Series B funding round of Traxo, which aggregates data, mostly in the corporate travel sphere. For its investment — the amount of which has not been disclosed — TripAdvisor’s Adam Medros, senior vice president of global products, gets a seat on the Traxo board.
Traxo’s existing investors, including Thayer Ventures, Advantage Capital Partners and Silver Creek Ventures, and new investor Aristos Ventures, participated in the round, which brings Traxo’s total funding to $11.2 million since its founding in 2008.
Among the things that Traxo’s solutions do is give travel managers greater visibility into employees’ booked trips (especially when not using the corporate booking tool), spending levels and brand preferences. Traxo’s Capture Suite, for instance, enables companies to scan their employees’ emails to aggregate data.
Traxo’s products also enable travel management companies, online booking tools and other providers to bolster travel policy compliance, track off-platform bookings and monitor travel spend.
Andres Fabris, the founder and CEO of Dallas-based Traxo, said the company will use the funding to enhance its products and expand into Europe in 2017, and it targets a presence in Asia-Pacific the following year.
Fabris says Traxo, which used to compete with TripIt in itinerary management, views itself as a travel-data aggregator, and not just one for corporations and travel management companies.
“We make less of a distinction between corporate and leisure,” Fabris said. “Travelers sometimes have their corporate persona on and sometimes they have their leisure persona on.”
While Traxo’s clients are predominantly in business travel, the company also has leisure clients such as InsideFlyer, Fabris said.
In a statement, Medros of TripAdvisor offered that the missions of TripAdvisor and Traxo align, although he didn’t elaborate on whether TripAdvisor seeks to learn more about business travel through the investment.
“Traxo’s foundational mission — to make traveling easier by facilitating the seamless flow of critical travel data — aligns with TripAdvisor’s overall focus on helping travelers experience a better start-to-finish trip,” Medros said. “As a part of this investment, TripAdvisor believes our resources and knowledge can further scale Traxo’s ability to help more travelers have a seamless journey.”
When asked how a predominantly business travel company such as Traxo attracted funding from leisure travel-oriented TripAdvisor, Fabris said Traxo “cast a wide net” among “the usual suspects” when seeking investors.
TripAdvisor’s Motives Unclear But We Can Guess
TripAdvisor declined to answer any further questions about its investment in Traxo, and Fabris was reluctant to elaborate.
Traxo began as a consumer startup, emphasizing itinerary management and loyalty tracking, and pivoted toward corporate travel and a business-to-business tack in tandem with its Series A funding in 2013.
TripAdvisor’s investment in Traxo doesn’t mean it is launching a business-travel-oriented product in 2017. There are myriad ways TripAdvisor might use or adapt Traxo’s technology to enhance TripAdvisor’s metasearch and Instant Booking features, for example, as well as gaining additional insight into its customer behavior.
Like it has with investments in Eatigo or Eatwith, TripAdvisor may view funding Traxo as having an up-side financially.
As TripAdvisor evolves into more of a booking site than it is today, it makes total sense over the long term for it to get increasingly interested in corporate travel. Business travelers yearn for that elusive, perfect trip, too.