The company is doing well, considering it's operating in one of the most difficult markets for business travel. Now it's hinting at new, out-of-the-box products, but we'll have to wait and see what those are.
Business travel is a lucrative industry with a lot of growth coming from competing startups, and the venture capital money just keeps coming.
TravelPerk has raised $60 million in further Series C funding, bringing the total amount raised to $104 million for this round. Existing investors Kinnevik, Partners of DST Global, Target Global, Felix Capital, Sunstone, and LocalGlobe led both the first and second tranches of Series C funding, which was first announced in October.
Overall, the Barcelona-based travel booker and management company has raised $133.4 million since it was founded in 2015.
The additional money will be used for product innovation and to expand further into Europe. Since the last announcement, the startup has been busy opening new offices in Berlin and London, adding people to its team, and increasing its booking inventory. Recently, it partnered with Lufthansa to offer direct booking.
“We had a very aggressive idea of what we wanted to achieve since the last announcement of this funding round,” TravelPerk CEO Avi Meir said. “We exceeded our original plans and we said, ‘Let’s double down.’”
Over the past four years, the company has devoted itself to developing its core business and helping corporate travel to catch up with the user experience and range of offerings provided by the leisure travel industry. Now that it has successfully done that, it will begin to break the mold, offering new and innovative products, Meir said.
Some of these new products are ready to go live, and the company plans to announce them within the next two weeks. A top priority is making business travel more flexible for its customers.
“We made the conscious decision when we first started this journey to not go for the bells and whistles that were popular at the time – things like AI or virtual reality,” he said. “We decided to focus on the infrastructure, on the basics, and we built what I’m very proud of today. Now, it’s time to move forward. We’re done playing catch up, it’s time to start leading.”
Three weeks ago, TravelPerk competitor TripActions raised $250 million, bringing its overall amount raised to $481.5 million since its founding in 2015. The Palo Alto-based startup plans to use this money to scale globally and add to its team.
Besides innovation, TravelPerk will work to dig deeper into the European market, opening new offices in Amsterdam and Paris and increasing its team. The company currently has 240 people, but expects to have 580 by the end of 2020.
Europe is a particularly difficult market because of how fragmented it is. Across all of the different countries in the region, there may be different suppliers, languages, or currencies, as well as different tax regulations, accounting laws, and data protections.
Part of the company’s strategy to handle such a complicated market has been offering a wide inventory across the different industries, including airline, hotel, rail, and car rental, plus a partnership with Airbnb. So far, the task poses a big enough challenge to TravelPerk, which says its focus will continue to be entirely on Europe.
“We’re on the right path to becoming the leader in the region, especially for small and medium sized businesses, which is our main focus,” said Meir. “I don’t know anyone in corporate travel that has the same booking inventory as we do.”
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Photo credit: TravelPerk CEO Avi Meir. TravelPerk