Barcelona-based unicorn TravelPerk has raised $104m to improve its business travel platform with AI-powered capabilities — boosting its valuation to $1.4bn.
The funding round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund (SVF) 2, with participation from Kinnevik and Felix Capital. It’s an extension of its $160m Series D round in April 2021 led by Greyhound Capital.
Cofounder and CEO Avi Meir tells Sifted he expects TravelPerk to achieve profitability by the end of 2025.
“We have a clear focus: building the number one SaaS business travel platform for [small and medium-size businesses] and mid-tier companies in Europe and the US,” he says.
TravelPerk, which employs about 1.2k people, offers a platform for managing business travel, including booking and expense tracking.
The extra capital will fund new business travel services, and be spent on advancing the automation of its platform using AI and sourcing more transport and accommodation options to offer to users.
“Over the last 18 months we have heavily invested in building our AI-powered travel tech stack, significantly improving user experience as well as the speed and agility of our customer service agents,” Meir says.
The automation of manual processes, such as flight change requests, has allowed TravelPerk to reduce its customer service costs and improve efficiencies by 50%, he adds.
Meir also wants to speed up growth by deepening the localisation of TravelPerk’s product across its main markets.
“In the business of corporate travel, the best product experience means offering the biggest choice of inventory at the best available price,” he says. “We will continue to build on our industry-leading inventory capabilities by opening up better options across air, rail, hotel and car.”
TravelPerk’s revenues grew by more than 70% year on year in 2023, fuelled by a 56% jump in international business trips to the US, according to data on flight bookings shared by the startup.
The US took the top spot for most popular country for international business trips last year, followed by Germany and the UK, which saw flight bookings growing by 80% and 73% respectively.
TravelPerk’s eyes are firmly set on the US, where it acquired the Santa Monica-based startup NexTravel two years ago and is hiring more employees.
Meir says he expects the US — where the company has offices in Boston, Chicago and Miami — to account for 20-25% of TravelPerk’s growth this year.
Future growth is also expected to come from targeting small and medium-size companies, which Stephen Thorne, investment director for SoftBank Investment Advisers and new member of TravelPerk’s board of directors, says form a “largely underserved” group of potential customers.