Like most start-ups, we followed the typical playbook of: raise money > invest in a great product and great people > acquire customers > raise more money and start the cycle over again. In 2023, we wrote a new playbook for TravelPerk. By the end of 2022, the funding market had dried up and the climate for start-ups was grim. VC funding was down 50%, investment rounds were the lowest since 2017, there were massive layoffs across the tech industry, and twice as many startups were failing because they ran out of cash.Instead of raising on unfavorable terms, we decided to own our own destiny. We doubled down on generating our own cash. In 2023, we focused on profitability. Our growth goals were still high, but we became conscious of not growing at all costs. AI-driven automation helped us do more value-added work and increased our productivity. For example, we handled twice the number of customer inquiries with the same number of customer care experts by fully automating non-urgent tickets. The result? Fewer tickets for our customer care team and faster solutions for our travelers. By automating some of those ‘back office’ tasks, this allowed our customer care team to provide better, more personalized service to our customers. We not only improved our cost to serve, we created a better experience for our travelers.