Travel start-ups set for a Perfect Trip with $150 million fund

The company that acquired trip planning app TripIt has launched a $150 million fund, which will be used to invest in start-ups focused on innovations in the travel and expense space.


Concur, based in Washington, provides travel and expense management solutions. It was founded in 1993 on the premise of helping drive costs out of businesses through innovation.


In January last year, Concur acquired TripIt – a market leader in mobile trip management – for approximately $82 million in upfront cash, stock and unvested restricted stock units.


Now, the company has announced the launch of the Concur Perfect Trip Fund, a $150 million fund that will invest in travel start-ups.


Specifically, Concur is looking to fund companies that could integrate with its own Concur Connect platform, powered by the Concur T&E Cloud.


Its vision of the fund is built on creating a travel ecosystem that “dynamically responds to the needs of business travellers, the companies that they work for and the suppliers that serve them”.


As part of this strategy, Concur recently invested $2 million in Evature, developer of an Expert Virtual Agent, which provides natural language search capabilities for online travel.


Other investments include cloud-based digital marketing system buuteeq, hotel search site Room 77, price tracking service Yapta, ground transportation start-up Taxi Magic, and Cleartrip – India’s leading online travel portal.


“An integral part of our vision for The Perfect Fund is building out the services, functionality and global infrastructure available via the Concur T&E Cloud,” chief executive Steve Singh said in a statement.


“Concur is not only driving the innovation agenda for our industry, we’re also leveraging our balance sheet to foster innovation and nurture game-changing technologies.”


“Along with our own path of innovation, we want to tap into the creativity and entrepreneurship of the many smart companies in which we’ve invested.”


The news comes on the back of the World Travel Market Global Trends Report, which highlights key trends in the travel and tourism industry.


The report reveals consumers have acquired a more central role in the travel industry thanks to greater choice offered by the online travel revolution, impacting travel business models.


For example, a website called Tingo, which is owned by TripAdvisor, introduced a new business model in 2012, exploiting refunds and cancellations to gain the best hotel rates.


The website automatically rebooks travellers’ reservations when there is a price drop for the booked rooms up to 24 hours before check-in.


By reselling hotel rooms, the company charges a commission on any room that is sold, which is its major revenue generator.


“ challenges hotel revenue management principles and their distribution approaches,” the report said.


“Independent tour operators, rail and car rental players could adopt the same pricing strategy.”


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