The key to raising – get funding when you don’t need the cash. Here's how we did it.

07 Feb 2024 · 4
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.

Owning our own destiny - growing on our terms

Rather than following the previous playbook of relying on funding to grow, the focus on profitable unit economics drove gross profits to surge by more than 90% and revenue at 70% growth in 2023.
It was through sticking to our values of providing a 7-star experience for our customers and believing in our team that we achieved nearly $2 billion in trips booked on our platform last year. 
As opposed to layoffs witnessed across the tech sector, we continued hiring and now have 1200 people based in our headquarters in Barcelona and our global offices in Boston, London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Berlin, Miami, and Chicago. 

Raising money when you don’t need it

TravelPerk is stronger than ever. We were already funded to break even. Then in 2023, accelerating our path to profitability brought certainty during an uncertain macroeconomic climate. 
Our new approach to sustainable growth allowed us to successfully close a $104m investment led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. This funding round was an extension of our Series D-1 from January 2022 with our slightly increased valuation at $1.4 billion, which in our view, is more than healthy, given the current market. 
We are grateful for the confidence of our previous investors Kinnevik and Felix Capital who also invested in this round. We are honored to have Stephen Thorne, Investment Director for SoftBank, join TravelPerk’s Board of Directors.
2023 was a year of growth on all fronts and 2024 is going to be even bigger. Keeping customers as our north star has always led us to greater places.
In a climate where start-up funding is down and valuations have nosedived, we secured over $100 in investment in our Series D-1 and slightly increased our valuation at $1.4 billion.

Customer Love. Forever.

One of our core values at TravelPerk is 7-star service. 
We believe 5-star is your best, 7-star is above and beyond. We apply this perspective both internally and externally at TravelPerk. From the way we build our products to how we interact with one another within the workplace. 
This year’s focus is going to be all about Customer Love where AI and automation will continue to improve the TravelPerk experience while freeing up our customer care team to provide 7 star service to our travelers.
We’ll continue to be customer-obsessed – focusing on elevating our platform’s capabilities to continue to make travel and expense management as stress-free as possible for everyone.

Raising the bar with cutting-edge technology and AI

Rather than using this transformative technology for “show” (no offense to you, chatbots) we’ve already successfully adopted AI to transform many of our internal processes. One example is the speed at which we now sign up new customers, which is 82% faster year-on-year thanks to having AI deeply embedded in our proprietary tech stack.
Our aim is to build a company that will be here in 100 years. That’s why AI will continue to help us innovate to create experiences that customers love. New applications of AI to expect soon include streamlining travel admin reporting processes, and providing additional value to travelers during their trips via our mobile app.
Written by
TravelPerk Co-founder & CEO
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