Corporate travel platform TripActions quadruples valuation with $250M Series D

Venture capital investors Andreessen Horowitz, Zeev Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and SGVC have valued TripActions, a travel booking service tailored for large enterprises, at $4 billion with a $250 million Series D.

The round, announced this morning, brings the business’s total raised to $480 million.

TripActions co-founder and chief executive officer Ariel Cohen tells TechCrunch the company’s revenue is growing 5x year-over-year but declined to disclose 2018 revenues. Currently, it has more than 2,000 customers, including WeWork, Zoom, Dropbox and Robinhood.

Founded in 2015, TripActions is out to replace antiquated travel booking systems with a platform that integrates company HR and expense systems. Using TripActions, business travelers can arrange flights, hotels and transportation, with 24/7 global support from the startup’s staff.

“We are going after a really big industry,” Cohen said. “We are replacing something people don’t like. They don’t like the tools corporates are giving them today to book business trips.”

TripActions plans to use the cash to accelerate its international expansion. Only 18 months ago, it operated just one office out of its headquarters in Palo Alto. Today, the company has 700 employees with offices in London, Sydney, Amsterdam and more.

Co-founder and chief technology officer Ilan Twig says once they brought on large enterprise customers like Box, for example, they had no choice but to better craft the service for markets located outside the U.S.

“In a year we went from a startup with an office in Palo Alto to having more than 100 employees in Europe,” Twig tells TechCrunch. “We need to meet users where they are … We need agents and operations in the various [geographies] that we are serving. And then of course sales and marketing in all of these [geographies].”

With the latest round, TripActions is sitting on a mountain of cash. The founders tell us they’ve yet to spend a dime of their $154 million Series C. Closed in November, the financing valued the company at $1 billion, cementing its position in the unicorn club.

“We want to make sure we are equipped to take the market,” Cohen said. “Do we need the entire amount of money we’ve raised to date? The answer is no. But do we want the means to seize the opportunity in the long term? The answer is hell yes.”

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CTRL-labs scoops up Myo armband tech from North

Before pivoting to smart glasses, Thalmic Labs (now North) tried its best to make its Myo gestural arm band controller the future of user input. Now, another startup is picking up the baton, acquiring patents related to the product and customer data.

The IP is being bought by CTRL-labs, a New York-based startup full of neuroscientists aiming to build a wrist-worn input device that translates electrical signals from your body into computer input. The startup closed a $28 million Series A last year with funding coming from Vulcan Capital, GV and others.

In December, CTRL-labs launched its own development kit for a device similar in scope to the Myo armband but more robust in its sensing capabilities.

While Thalmic Labs had its own ambitions for extracting input from the body’s electrical signals, CTRL-labs tells me that the patent purchase is largely focused on acquiring the tech behind the armbands gestural controls, which translated sweeping arm movements into input mechanisms. The startup hopes that by integrating the tech into future development kits, developers will have more options for functionality as the company strives to fine tune its more complex readings.

The purchase marks the close of an era for North, which has raised nearly $200 million according to CrunchBase and marked a major pivot last year away from its Myo armband towards its new Focals smart glasses. North has been full steam ahead on the smart glasses and seems to have dumped plans to pursue the Myo band further so offloading the patents seems like an easy choice as the team labors to scale sales of its smart glasses that starts at $599 ($799 with prescription lenses).

For its part, CTRL-labs exec Josh Duyan tells me that the connection between the two firms came about due to mutual investor Spark Capital making the connection. Duyan declined to disclose the price of the deal.



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