Travelstop, a Singapore–based travel startup that plans to re-imagine and simplify business travel in Asia, has raised US$1.2 million (S$1.65 million) from leading investors in Singapore and USA, and is launching in Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia today.
The Seed investment was led by Singapore-based venture capital firm SeedPlus, along with a leading, travel–focused venture capital firm based in the US. Several industry veterans including Dan Lynn and Vikram Malhi (ex-Expedia senior business leaders and founders of Zuzu Hospitality Solutions), David Ko (President & COO of Rally Health), and Jarrod Howe (Regional Operations Director at Hyper Island Singapore) were also part of this round of funding.
Travelstop is a modern AI-powered software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform aimed at simplifying business travel for corporates in Asia. It provides easy to use tools that simplifies the business travel booking process, while automating expense reporting and providing meaningful insights to business owners.
“Travelstop is led by an experienced team of founders who have significant experience in solving complex consumer problems.” says Michael Smith Jr., Partner at SeedPlus. “90% of all business travel in Asia is unmanaged and Travelstop, with its modern approach to business travel, is perfectly positioned to be the leader in this space. Now, with Travelstop, companies across Asia can easily manage their travel needs and offer their employees who travel a delightful user experience.”
The Asia Pacific region is the largest business travel market in the world, comprising 40% of global business travel, and is on track to grow at 10.4% CAGR between 2015 – 2023 (Europe 3.8%, US 4.1%). While current business travel solutions are designed for large corporations and traditional business travellers, the unmanaged travel space in Asia, which is increasingly dominated by millennials, needs a simpler and more flexible solution: one that keeps costs low, allows a level of flexibility and gathers all data and expenses into a single, easy-to-use interface.
Travelstop addresses this gap by providing a platform that simplifies business travel booking and automates the expense reporting process for employees. It uses advanced machine learning and AI-powered personalisation to make flight and hotel recommendations, reducing the hours needed by business travellers to research and book their travel. Employees also have access to an intuitive expense reporting tool that simplifies the expense reimbursement process.
Prashant Kirtane, Travelstop CEO said: “Young Millennials and business travellers in Asia are technology savvy, socially driven and are smart travellers that actively participate in the sharing economy. These travellers aspire for more meaningful travel experiences, and we at Travelstop are building a modern business travel platform for the next-gen traveller. Our goal is to not only provide a delightful and flexible travel booking experience, but also make the post-trip expense management process more efficient.”
Travelstop plans to bring all the product innovation happening in the consumer space to the enterprise world — leveraging technologies such as machine learning and AI-driven personalisation to build a compelling and modern experience for today’s business traveller.
“Business travellers deserve to experience all the innovation and progress that the consumer space has made over the last several years,” says Travelstop CTO, Vijay Aggarwal. “Our goal is to leverage machine learning and AI to power experiences for today’s business traveller, while staying nimble and flexible by investing in modern infrastructure to power our platform.”
Kirtane further added: “This round of funding will be used to drive product development, build a world-class development team in Singapore, and to ramp up growth through sales and marketing. In 2018, we will focus our energies on a few priority markets like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and will look to expand beyond these markets in 2019.”