Even with overall business travel recovery slower than expected this year, technology-first travel management company TripActions managed to wrap up not only two major fundraising rounds but also an acquisition that significantly increased its footprint in Europe.
Founded in 1960, U.K.-based travel management company Reed & Mackay made its mark as a provider of high-touch service VIP clientele, and in 2016—when TripActions still was in its infancy—it was acquired by private equity company Inflexion for an estimated £170 million. Five years later, TripActions was the acquiring party, purchasing Reed & Mackay for an undisclosed sum in May. Upon the acquisition, Reed & Mackay CEO Fred Stratford said it was not a fire sale necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic’s decimation of the travel industry but rather a deal that Reed & Mackay was enthusiastic to complete.
“I think what’s really exciting is that we are so different,” Stratford told BTN Europe. “No one would really think it would make sense, but the magic happens where you bring those together.”
While preserving the Reed & Mackay brand, TripActions since has leveraged the acquisition into launching a global VIP offering for clients with such options as corporate jet bookings, fast-track immigration and black car service. It also leveraged Reed & Mackay to offer its customers support for meetings.
TripActions had already had some major European client wins prior to the acquisition, such as Dublin-based retailer Primark. The European portion of its customer portfolio grew to about 30 percent of the company’s spend under management by October.
Acquisitions need capital, of course, and TripActions boosted its coffers significantly this year. In January, it landed $155 million in Series E funding that co-founder and CEO Ariel Cohen said came before TripActions even had a chance to tap into $125 million in financing completed the previous June. In October, TripActions announced another $275 million in Series F growth funding led by Greenoaks.
Cohen told BTN that TripActions’ “massive growth” has come in part thanks to, not despite the pandemic, as companies now “recognize the imperative for consumer-grade tech tools and efficiency that comes from real-time, contextual data.”