Never lose sight of what your success is based on: Product, team, customers and partners

TravelPerk is an all-in-one platform for booking, planning and managing business trips

Introduce yourself and the startup TravelPerk to our readers.

TravelPerk is an all-in-one platform for booking, planning and managing business trips. We are revolutionizing the business travel market by making booking business travel as easy, convenient, and cost-effective as booking personal travel. The basis for this is our platform, our incredible Customer Care team and a lot of experience in the travel and SaaS sectors. 

I’m Avi Meir, co-founder and CEO of TravelPerk. After selling my previous startup to Booking.com, I founded TravelPerk in 2015. Within 2 years, we have grown from 50 to over 400 employees and received a total of $134 million in funding. 

Why did you decide to start a company?

Because I was a business traveler who was not enjoying business travel. It’s that simple. The business travel industry hasn’t really progressed much since the 90s. The existing solutions are expensive and clunky, and don’t offer the kind of experience that is expected by today’s travelers. My co-founders and I could see that companies like the one we were at (Booking.com), were so focused on leisure travel that they were not looking to build something for business travel. But still we could see business people having terrible experiences, in fact we were having them ourselves. That’s why we started TravelPerk, to fix that problem. 

What is the vision behind TravelPerk?

Our goal is to give business travelers an enjoyable experience, one they look forward to and remember fondly. At the same time, we know that the only way we can offer that is to give companies more insight and control over their travel management and reporting. In short, we want to make business travel cheaper, more efficient, and most of all, more enjoyable. We don’t just want to catch up to the consumer travel industry, we want to set new standards for everyone traveling for business, these are the people who power the global economy and they deserve an experience that doesn’t suck. 

From the idea to the start what have been the biggest challenges so far and how did you finance yourself?

The challenges have been different at each stage of the company. Our original idea was actually different to the TravelPerk we know today. We pivoted early because, after speaking with customers, we realized there was a bigger problem that needed solving. Since then, we’ve grown incredibly fast! It means there’s clear market-fit, but of course, it’s also brought challenges. Like, how do we maintain our culture at scale? And across our offices in London and Berlin? It’s why I invested about 60 percent of my time in recruiting, until just recently. It’s still something we’re really conscious of and actively investing in at the moment.

My co-founders and I actually invested our own money at the beginning. Not long after, early investors in Twitter and Slack came on board. And we’ve since expanded that group to include Kinnevik and Berlin-based TargetGlobal with the close of our Series C at $104 million dollars.

Who is the target group of TravelPerk?

Anyone who travels for business! In particular, we find that our approach and platform works really well for small and medium sized companies that want to give their employees a better experience while maintaining control. In Germany alone, we already have over 500 customers, including unicorns like GetYourGuide, but also traditional companies like Meininger. 

How does TravelPerk work? What are the advantages? What distinguishes you from other providers?

TravelPerk differs from other providers by its approach of being the best business booking platform around, as well as having everything that a company needs behind the scenes, stuff like reporting, managing, invoicing that a business needs to make business travel work for them. TravelPerk meets the needs of employees and businesses alike. Employees want to book easily, comfortably, and according to their preferences, while companies must always keep an eye on the costs and safety of their traveling employees. Meanwhile, Companies can easily build and maintain their travel policies in the TravelPerk booking platform.

TravelPerk filters out travel options that are not within the company policy, helping the employees to stay within the right boundaries. We work with major providers such as Amadeus, Easyjet and Ryanair, Hotels, as well as Deutsche Bahn, even Airbnb, to ensure the widest range of hotels and transportation – giving employees the convenience of booking private travel. Another great advantage for both companies and their employees is our free 24-hour, 7-star service customer service, which can help out at short notice in the event of sudden plan changes, strikes, cancellations, or other emergencies. 

And perhaps my personal favorite thing we do is offer a unique flexible rate feature that we call “FlexiPerk”. For just a 10% fee, Companies can cancel any part of their booking – hotel, airbnb, train, rental car or flight, including Ryanair and Easyjet, at any time and for any reason via TravelPerk and get at least 90 percent of the cost refunded. Normally flexibility like this costs as much as 60% more, and doesn’t cover your hotel, car, or train.  

Where is TravelPerk going? Where do you see yourself in five years?

We’re going to wherever building the best possible business travel experience can take us. It’s a huge problem that needs to be solved, if we continue to do a great job of this, we’ll be a successful company and in five years have many, many happy customers who are going out into the world and executing on their goals without having to worry about their travel arrangements getting in the way. 

Finally: What 3 tips would you give to prospective founders?

Always be aware of your values and create a strong workplace culture based on them. Only a clear, consistent culture allows you to grow at the pace you need to.

Never lose sight of what your success is based on: Product, team, customers and partners. Dedicate enough time to these relationships. 

Stay down to earth – despite success. Ask yourself at every financial decision you make whether it is really necessary and makes your team, your customers or your partners more efficient and/or happier. If the answer is “No”, then do without it.

More information you will find here

Thank you Avi Meir for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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