Rocketrip, an e-commerce platform that helps companies reward employees for for shaving costs off of business travel, has raised $9 million from private investors.
Investors in the Series B financing round include Bessemer Venture Partners, one of the oldest venture capital firms in the US, which led the raise, and Canaan Partners and Genacast Ventures, which had previously invested.
Founded in 2013, the New York City startup raised $6.2 million in earlier rounds.
The company did not disclose what the post-money valuation places on it. It currently has 40 employees, and services its clients worldwide out of New York.
Companies use the platform to power their cost-saving programs. Every time an employee takes a trip for the business, he or she is given a budget to beat.
Out of whatever they save or compliance with policies they take (such as trading down in class of service on a flight), they receive a reward, such as a gift card.
In the first three months of this year, the startup’s clients saved an average of $301 per trip, or about 27% against their trip budgets, the company said.
It works with companies that have a least $1 million in travel spend.
So far, about 80% happen to work with travel management companies, but Rocketrip says it is interested in all markets, not just the managed and lightly managed segments.
Rocketrip’s success has spawned a legion of similar, though not identical, businesses: TripActions andTravelPerk have all launched in the past year, as noted recently by The Company Dime. Another company, Upside, has been in beta.
Dan Ruch, founder and CEO of Rocketrip, told Tnooz:
“It’s great that there are finally other players in the space. We’ll need all the help we can get to prove to the market that it makes more sense to have a rewards-based approach than a draconian policy left alone….
I don’t know that the companies you named are really competitors/ We’ve been doing this for a few years.
As far as I understand what they’re doing, we different in that we’re focused on behaviorial change and not being transactional, meaning, you don’t have to book travel through our ecommerce platform….
We made the deliberate decision not to process the transaction, because trying to make money on the traction puts you at cross purposes with trying to help corporations reduce their travel spends….
It’ll be challenging for other folks to convince clients that they’re saving them money assuming that their business models is predicated on how much money is spent through their platforms. There is a potential conflict of interest there….”
Ruch said his company’s integration with Concur, the US travel management giant, is “very strong and getting stronger.” His team is building a suite of tools to meet Concur customers within Concur’s online booking tool itself, whereas right now its tools are just available via a browser extension in the Concur experience.
While Bessemer is part of the famous Sand Hill Road set of VC firms, it is a partner from its New York City office, Alex Ferrara, who will join Rocketrip’s board of directors, partly given his proximity to the Manhattan-based firm.
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