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 firms 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 really put its stamp on the US market.
Whereas it has clearly been a really dangerous yr for enterprise journey, it has not been the worst yr for TravelPerk.
In an interview with Sifted in the direction of the beginning of the pandemic, founder and chief govt Avi Meir mirrored on TravelPerk’s luck to have money within the financial institution after a sizeable Sequence 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 worth of different journey startups tumbled.
Having acquired journey security API Albatross in July, Meir says that the powerful market situations for journey firms made the NexTravel acquisition reasonably priced.
“This acquisition, it’s a fantastic group, a fantastic product. We’ve recognized this group for a number of years and the worth was not one thing we may afford up to now — the disaster clearly modified this,” he explains. “It’s a mixture of entry to capital which we had, and likewise the Covid atmosphere has sadly introduced many nice firms 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 Sequence A spherical in January 2020.
What future for enterprise journey?
TravelPerk already has an energetic US workplace in Chicago, and the NexTravel group can be built-in into the Spanish startup’s present operations within the nation.
Meir says the acquisition was enticing partly 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 based mostly.
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 may probably change is a few conferences that didn’t should be a visit. Generally I might go to London for a one-hour assembly and are available again the identical day. Possibly these sorts of journeys will now transfer to Zoom.”
However whereas some varieties of enterprise journey is perhaps in decline, Meir says a brand new alternative is opening up, as extra firms 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 fulfill in particular person. That occurs much less incessantly, however the journeys are sometimes longer,” he says.
Meir says that extra acquisitions are firmly on TravelPerk’s radar, as the corporate seems 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 properly set to hit the bottom operating, as enterprise journey lifts off once more.