This morning TripActions, a software company whose tools help businesses book and manage corporate travel, announced a new $155 million investment.
Three investors led the round: prior investor Andreessen Horowitz, Addition Ventures and Elad Gil. The new investment, a Series E, values TripActions at $5 billion on a post-money basis, a company spokesperson wrote via email.
Valuation marks are normally only moderately useful, but in the case of TripActions’ latest round carry more weight.
The company — along with restaurant software unicorn Toast — became something of a poster-child for the impact of COVID-19 on some categories of startups. TechCrunch covered the launch of a new $500 million credit facility for a TripActions product called Liquid in late February, 2020. A month later, in late March, TripActions laid off hundreds of staff as the travel market froze solid.
For a company that had raised $250 million at a $4 billion valuation in mid-2019, it was a dramatic reversal of fortunes. (TripActions did raise an additional $125 million in what it called “convertible-to-IPO financing” last June, when the travel market was especially bleak.)
Today, however, investors are betting on the company’s fortunes, not only providing it with another nine-figures of capital, but giving it a new, larger valuation as well.
An up-round less than a year after layoffs is an impressive recovery, so TechCrunch wanted to learn more about the corporate travel market, TripActions’ bread and butter, and the pace of the venerable business trip’s recovery; as COVID-19 vaccines roll out, how quickly are employees getting back onto planes?
According to a company spokesperson, the corporate travel market is at “20 percent levels as of this month,” while growing between 3% and 6% “week-over-week.” That pace of recovery could have given investors confidence that TripActions’ recovery to at least most of its former strength was merely a matter of time.
TechCrunch also asked TripActions what the corporate travel market will look like in the Zoom-ready, hybrid-work world that many expect. A spokesperson wrote that the company “strongly” believes that corporate travel will come back, “maybe not at 100 percent immediately,” but to 75% “within the next year.”
The spokesperson also wrote that a more distributed working population could actually boost corporate travel. If that bears out, TripActions could wind up in a stronger position post-COVID than it might have managed if the pandemic had never happened. For a unicorn forced to lay off so many workers when its market temporarily disappeared, such a return to power would be a coup.
Returning to the round, TripActions intends to use the new monies to invest in its product. The company highlighted recent feature releases in an email to TechCrunch to underscore the point, including software integrations, adding that it intends to keep working on its finance-focused Liquid product.
The spokesperson also said that the company “will build features on the travel side for distributed teams to meet in-person more easily.” As many anticipate that the days of completely geographically centered companies are over, the decision makes sense.
TechCrunch asked what portion of its previously laid-off staff have been rehired to date, and if the new funds will be used to rehire employees that were let go last year. We’ll update the piece when we hear back.
Regardless, from pre-pandemic highs, to a COVID-19 trough, to today with a newly raised valuation and lots of new cash, TripActions’ last year is a future business case study in the making.