The Spanish tech neighborhood lit up final yr when Apple acquired Barcelona-founded AI software program platform Vilynx. It’s maybe pure to be just a little star struck when one of many world’s most dominant tech corporations involves city and opens its pockets.
Nicely now the shoe is on the opposite foot.
The Barcelona-based enterprise journey reserving startup TravelPerk is buying the Santa Monica-based, YCombinator-backed startup NexTravel, because it seems to be to really put its stamp on the US market.
Whereas it has clearly been a really unhealthy yr for enterprise journey, it has not been the worst yr for TravelPerk.
In an interview with Sifted in direction of the beginning of the pandemic, founder and chief government Avi Meir mirrored on TravelPerk’s luck to have money within the financial institution after a sizeable Collection C spherical of $103m in the summertime of 2019.
This helped TravelPerk keep away from layoffs as its income crashed — and take benefit as the value of different journey startups tumbled.
Having acquired journey security API Albatross in July, Meir says that the powerful market circumstances for journey corporations made the NexTravel acquisition reasonably priced.
“This acquisition, it’s an important group, an important product. We’ve identified this group for a number of years and the value was not one thing we might afford up to now — the disaster clearly modified this,” he explains. “It’s a mixture of entry to capital which we had, and in addition the Covid surroundings has sadly introduced many nice corporations down in the event that they didn’t have that money.”
Whereas Meir wouldn’t touch upon the precise value of the acquisition, it’s fairly secure to imagine that the price was considerably down on NexTravel’s €9-13m valuation (estimation: Dealroom) after a $2.4m Collection A spherical in January 2020.
What future for enterprise journey?
TravelPerk already has an lively US workplace in Chicago, and the NexTravel group will likely be built-in into the Spanish startup’s present operations within the nation.
Meir says the acquisition was enticing partially because of the similarity of NexTravel’s enterprise mannequin to TravelPerk’s, but in addition its portfolio of 700 enterprise shoppers that are largely US primarily based.
With the acquisition, the US turns into TravelPerk’s largest nation market.
Meir is unsurprisingly bullish concerning the return of enterprise journey because the rollout of vaccines permits the world to open again up.
He does concede, nonetheless, that one factor the pandemic has taught us is that not all enterprise journey is important: “What might probably change is a few conferences that didn’t should be a visit. Typically I’d go to London for a one-hour assembly and are available again the identical day. Perhaps these sorts of journeys will now transfer to Zoom.”
However whereas some varieties of enterprise journey may be in decline, Meir says a brand new alternative is opening up, as extra corporations transfer to distributed workforces which can be much less tied to a central workplace hub.
“A distributed setup requires extra journey. Groups that was in the identical constructing now need to journey to satisfy in particular person. That occurs much less ceaselessly, however the journeys are sometimes longer,” he says.
Meir says that extra acquisitions are firmly on TravelPerk’s radar, as the corporate seems to be to double down on its core markets of Europe and the US.
And with the world craving for a return to normality as Covid-19 vaccines rollout, TravelPerk seems to be properly set to hit the bottom operating, as enterprise journey lifts off once more.