Building a Unicorn in turbulent waters: TravelPerk reaches $1.3bn valuation
Today, TravelPerk is sharing a big milestone: the closing of their $115m Series D round at a $1.3bn valuation. The round is being led by General Catalyst with Joel Cutler joining the board, together with Gillian Tans (former CEO and Chairwoman of Booking.com).
It feels very special today to see the hard work from all the team at TravelPerk rewarded by this new funding round. In a market where capital has been flooding the past 12 months, this is much more than money! Having the backing of people like Joel — early investor in Stripe, Kayak and Airbnb, and Gillian — who has been leading Booking.com for over 19 years — is a true recognition from the industry.
When we led the Series B round in 2018, we wrote a post to layout our thesis (and some good tips on how to hustle with founders 😅 !) What we didn’t anticipate was that 2 years later, a pandemic would hit the world, and even more the travel industry.
Where many management teams would have regrouped, hibernated, and move to cash conservation mode, Avi stepped up even more as a leader and almost in a provocative way announced a “zero layoff strategy” branded as “2020 gave us 🍋, we decided to make a lemonade”
While the Corporate Travel Industry was on pause combined with structural shifts in the way we work (remote working, video calls,..), TravelPerk doubled up on product and technology to build the most relevant digital travel management branded platform of tomorrow.
The company built and integrated at a mind-blowing pace (special kudos to Ross — CPO & CTO) a series of products and features to adapt to more flexibility, boost sustainable travel and expand TravelPerk’s product offering to meet SMBs’ new hybrid and remote working needs. These features include:
- FlexiPerk: Book any flight, hotel, car, or train at any rate, and cancel at any time. No questions asked.
- GreenPerk: The new way for sustainable business travel: Transparent. Affordable. Impactful.
- Launched TravelSafe API: Help your customers make safer travel booking decisions with the #1 COVID-19 and travel restrictions information on the market.
- TravelPerk Events (NEW!): From kick-offs and offsites to parties, TravelPerk Events enables remote and hybrid teams to connect in real life.
But this wasn’t enough, the company started consolidating the industry acquiring a few established brands under its umbrella (special kudos to Huw — COO):
- ClickTravel (UK): Biggest travel platform in the UK, handles £300 million in business travel for over 2,000 SMB clients, including Five Guys, Red Bull and TalkTalk
- NextTravel (US): As part of their major US push
- Susterra (Sustainability): Provides businesses with accurate data reports that enable sustainable travel
- Albatros API: Boost travel risk management offering
It feels very special to be part of this journey. Avi is the perfect illustration of the entrepreneurs we aspire to work alongside, well described in our manifesto.
The company has never been in a better position to emerge as the new category-defining brand in the $600bn SMB travel industry — Welcome to the Unicorn club!
Antoine & the Felix Team.