Corporations could be a lot more efficient with their travel spend, believes booking platform TripActions. Today, the company is announcing $14.6 million in funding from Zeev Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners to fulfill that mission.
Based on the idea that people spend more money when it’s on their company’s dime, the startup offers employees rewards for staying under a target budget. These so-called “TripBucks” can then be exchanged for Amazon gift cards or other merchandise.
The newly launched TripActions offers a Kayak-like platform for booking flights and hotels. It hopes that the simplicity of its platform will help it take on incumbents like Concur and it has already attracted clients like SurveyMonkey and eHarmony,
TripActions is not the first company to offer a reward-based approach to corporate travel spending. Venture-backed startups Rocketrip and TravelBank are competing in the space as well, for example.
What’s different about TripActions, says the company’s CEO and co-founder Ariel Cohen, is a stronger “focus on mobile” and access to a “ton of inventory.” The company is also adding more personalization features to its service.
Arif Janmohamed, a partner at Lightspeed, says he liked the idea because “most people aren’t really happy with the experience” of booking on traditional corporate booking platforms. He felt that TripActions offered more “instant gratification and instant transparency” than the competition because it is readily apparent what the savings will be.
To monetize its service, TripActions just charges companies a booking fee — the travelers themselves don’t pay for using it. Some of TripActions’ competitors, on the other hand, often charge their clients a recurring payment.
“What attracted me was the opportunity to disrupt an industry full of outdated options and provide travelers choice and a modern experience while adding value to their company,” said Oren Zeev of Zeev Ventures about why he invested. “It brings choice to travelers and gives them a reason to save money.”
Menlo Park-based TripActions launched in 2015, but was previously in “stealth mode.”