Rearden Commerce: Time For The Adults To Come In And Clean House


Silicon Valley based Rearden Commerce is a company that I’ve spoken to a few times over the last year to hear what they were up to. They are well known in enterprise/business solutions circles, and in a few months they are going to put one very large footprint down in the consumer space as well.

The best way to describe Rearden Commerce is “mashups for adults.” Like some very early stage startups we profiled last week, they are targeting global services – hotel, airline, restaurants, rental cars, shipping, event tickets, and parking. Eventually they’ll dip down deep into the long tail and include things like doctor and dentist appointments, massages, etc.). In total, services are roughly 60% of the worldwide economy.

Their strategy to date has been to sign large corporate customers and create customized websites for their employees. The service acts very much like a personal assistant. Set your profile up with the types of restaurants you like, whether you like aisle or window seats, and your preferred car provider, and Rearden will book all aspects of your trip for you.

See restaurants within a certain distance from your hotel via a Google Maps mashup (and based on Zagat ratings and cuisine), pick one, and the software will make a reservation for you through OpenTable. Then they’ll sync up with your calendar and your mobile device, and send you messages if anything goes wrong, like a flight delay. You can also access their mobile client to make changes to your itinerary. The interface is orders of magnitude beyond what Orbitz and other travel sites offer (click the screen shot for a larger view), and they’ll also book your restaurant and find you tickets to the Lakers game that night if you like.

Rearden will also keep track of reward miles and points from airlines, hotels, rental cars, etc., and lets users use those points to book additional travel and other services. Cancel a flight? No problem. Rearden keeps track of the credit in its system and suggests you use it the next time you travel.

They charge corporate customers a yearly fee that ranges into the millions of dollars, and are able to take a fee per transaction as well. Companies like it because they have to hire fewer administrative staff, and have excellent visibility into discretionary travel and entertainment spending (because it all goes through the site). Companies can also control costs easily – if they are having a rough fiscal quarter, they can simply turn off business class travel and expensive hotels.

Services are pulled into the system using whatever interfaces are available. This is a big problem (since they have thousands of service providers), but it’s also a huge competitive advantage now that they’ve done it. It will be very hard for anyone to scale to their size very quickly. No one else has even tried, so far.

Rearden allows employees using their service to create a personal profile as well, and plan their travel and entertainment that isn’t business related with a different profile and credit card. That service has proved to be massively popular. And so their next step is to offer the service to anyone through resellers. In 2008, they’ll release their own consumer branded service, too. They’ll also begin allowing smaller service providers to hook into their system (that’s when the doctors, dentists, flower shops, etc. will start to join in).

The company won’t disclose their revenues to me (no matter how many times I ask), but it’s clear that they already have substantial cash flow. They say they’ll be cash flow positive by end of year, with 340 or so employees (they’ll double from their current headcount of 160). The vast majority of their headcount are product focused and/or developers – the company still only has six sales people.

Rearden Commerce was founded in 2000 and has raised $100 million in funding from Foundation Capital, Oak Investment Partners and American Express. The American Express investment came late last year as part of a larger deal – Amex is now reselling Rearden Commerce to its corporate customers as well. This company is hiring like crazy.

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo