Seven corporate travel and expense technologies landed on
Deloitte's Technology Fast 500, the consulting firm’s annual list of the
fastest-growing technology companies in North America. According to Deloitte,
the Fast 500 represents technologies that are “disrupting” the industries they
touch. Meetings technologies led corporate travel companies with four on the
list, while expense management providers took three spots.
DoubleDutch, which came in at No. 73, grew 1,147 percent in
the past three years. According to its website, the San Francisco-based mobile
meetings app company has raised $78.5 million in venture capital, $45 million
of that in August. The app offers the basics like mobile agendas, survey and
polling capabilities, attendee networking and sponsorship opportunities. This
month, DoubleDutch rolled out the capability for users to message one another
directly, converse about specific topics and extend the reach of particular
conference sessions. Event managers can access all activity to measure events'
performances and understand what topics are buzzing.
Coupa Software took the No. 110 spot on the Deloitte list.
While it casts a wide e-procurement net, the company also operates in
traditional expense management and claims to have doubled its annual revenue every
year for the past six years. Deloitte pegged the company’s three-year growth at
826 percent. Coupa made a travel play this summer, acquiring TripScanner, an
open-booking platform that enables clients to capture data, apply policy
controls and analyze off-channel bookings. It attracted $40 million in venture
capital funding in 2014, bringing its total to $87 million.
At No. 156, Workday is a less familiar HR and financial
management software company that touches on T&E. On Thursday, the company
reported unaudited consolidated earnings for the third quarter at $305.3
million, a significant increase from $215.1 million for the third quarter of
2014. Workday was founded in 2005 and in 2009 raised $75 million in venture
Dedicated expense management provider Chrome River grabbed
the No. 343 spot. It raised $100 million in series D financing this summer
after attracting $17 million in series C funding in 2014. CEO Alan Rich told BTN in July, “We’re doing a lot of work
on the invoice space, new purchase-order functionality, electronic invoicing.”
He also voiced his desire to build on client wins that emerged as IBM announced
its departure from the expense market last year.
Another mobile meetings app snagged the No. 182 place on the
Fast 500. Headquartered in Vancouver, QuickMobile raised $9.1 million in three
rounds of venture capital funding from 2011 to 2013 and has addressed similar
demand to those of DoubleDutch and CrowdCompass, which is owned by Cvent, a much
larger Fast 500 compatriot that landed at No. 446 this year. Etouches, which took
the No. 357 spot, also offers mobile event apps and a more comprehensive event
Funding Innovation In
“The 2015 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 winners have
demonstrated remarkable innovation and at the same time have had a profound
impact on businesses large and small,” said Sandra Shirai, Deloitte Consulting
U.S. technology, media and telecommunications leader.
Deloitte also noted that most of the companies need
considerable outside funding to drive their growth. Indeed, 64 percent of the
ranking companies received venture capital at some point in their history, many
of them recently.
Capital infusions clearly support the corporate travel and
expense players on Deloitte's list. Yet, Travel Tech Consulting president Norm
Rose said technology investment in the corporate travel industry is at odds
with innovation and disruption, at least so far. “In the investment community,
everyone is talking about expense [management]. When Concur gets purchased by
SAP for so much money, that stimulates a lot of interest into that category. Everyone
is vying to become the next Concur as it migrates into SAP.”
Similar investment motivation could be driving tech
companies in the meetings industry, he said, based on the success of Cvent,
which has made a flurry of acquisitions in the past several years, including SignUp4
and mobile event app provider AllianceTech in the past six months.
“[Cvent] has been very successful and growing rapidly, and
competitive or tangential services are coming up equally fast,” Rose said,
noting that many corporate travel technology companies offer overlapping
products. “All these [expense and meetings technologies] are kind of ‘me too’
players. I’m not saying the individual vendors don’t have their forms of
innovation, but that is innovating within the category or within the features
set. I don’t see them breaking out of that features set.”
To their credit, mobile meetings technology and agile
expense management firms are bringing meaningful technology solutions to the
table. The companies on the Fast 500 are not just marketing their way to
visibility but truly growing revenue and market share.
Still, the industry is ripe for a true disruptor, according
to Rose. But as the Fast 500 proves, funding will be critical. So far, the
investment pool has been tepid at best. “For corporate travel, my experience is
that the people doing the investing and driving this growth with marketing and
funds available are still trying to build on what is established instead of
doing disruptive things.”