Aligning Incentives on T&E — TravelBank Saves SMBs Money

Portfolio Company News | August 31, 2017

Small to medium-size businesses have traditionally lacked the tools and data to effectively manage travel and expenses. To help change that we are excited to announce Propel Venture Partners’ investment in TravelBank, an expense and travel platform that aligns incentives between employers and employees. Propel joins DCM and Danhua as new investors in the Series B round, alongside existing investors NEA and Accel.

Typically SMBs start with Excel for expense management and after enough frustration pay for a number of fragmented software solutions. TravelBank brings expense management, trip planning, and booking together, democratizing access with a free, mobile-first, end-to-end platform. Beyond that, TravelBank helps SMBs control and forecast travel expenses.

As companies grow, some employees forget to spend money as if it’s their own, and CEOs are no longer able to effectively monitor expenditures. Many of us have witnessed bad behavior or pushing of boundaries related to T&E policies. TravelBank’s rewards system transforms that dynamic. Unlike most services that give travelers more reward points when they book more expensive options, TravelBank gives travelers more points when they choose less expensive options. Companies are now able to offer points for unused budgeted travel. For example, if a three-day trip to Las Vegas is budgeted at $2,000 for flight, hotel, and other expenses, and the employee spends $1,500, the employee could be credited with additional TravelBank points to share in the company’s savings.

T&E is the second highest expense item for corporations. The Global Business Travel Association estimates the market size to be $1.2 trillion, of which nearly $300 billion is spent in the U.S. For the largest enterprises, solutions like Concur are available to manage expenses and booking. These solutions are typically too expensive for SMBs, and they were built during the 1990s, without mobile in mind.

As former employees at some of the world’s largest financial institutions, the team at Propel has extensive experience managing expenses and booking travel through Concur. More recently, as a startup, our dissatisfaction with software such as Nexonia has become a painful topic. When we first met TravelBank’s CEO, Duke Chung for coffee his views on product and culture resonated with us. Duke is battle-tested, from the early days of founding Parature in 2000, before ultimately selling the customer service SaaS provider to Microsoft in 2014. The management team worked together at Parature, and there is cohesiveness throughout the organization. We are thrilled to work with Duke, Ching-Ho, Reid, and the team at TravelBank to save companies money and build the future of business travel!

– Jay Reinemann, David Mort

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