Travelstop Raises US$1.2 Million Seed Funding to Launch a Modern Platform That Simplifies Business Travel in Asia
Singapore-based Travelstop, founded by a team of ex-Expedia employees, launches a modern, AI-powered software-as-a-service platform for business travel in Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia.
Co-founded by industry veterans, Prashant Kirtane, a former Yahoo! exec turned entrepreneur who sold his previous travel-tech startup to Expedia's HomeAway in 2015, one of the biggest early exits in Singapore, Vijay Aggarwal, a seasoned technology leader, and Altaf Dhamani, a product thought leader in the space.
Seed investment led by SeedPlus, with participation from a US-based venture capital firm, and industry veterans from Expedia and Yahoo!.
SINGAPORE, Aug. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Travelstop, a Singapore-based travel startup that plans to re-imagine and simplify business travel in Asia, has raised US$1.2 million (S$1.65 million) from leading investors in Singapore and USA, and is launching in Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia today.
The Seed investment was led by Singapore-based venture capital firm SeedPlus, along with a leading, travel-focused venture capital firm based in the US. Several industry veterans including Dan Lynn and Vikram Malhi (ex-Expedia senior business leaders and founders of Zuzu Hospitality Solutions), David Ko (President & COO of Rally Health), and Jarrod Howe (Regional Operations Director at Hyper Island Singapore) were also part of this round of funding.
Travelstop is a modern AI-powered software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform aimed at simplifying business travel for corporates in Asia. It provides easy to use tools that simplifies the business travel booking process, while automating expense reporting and providing meaningful insights to business owners.
"Travelstop is led by an experienced team of founders who have significant experience in solving complex consumer problems." says Michael Smith Jr., Partner at SeedPlus. "90% of all business travel in Asia is unmanaged and Travelstop, with its modern approach to business travel, is perfectly positioned to be the leader in this space. Now, with Travelstop, companies across Asia can easily manage their travel needs and offer their employees who travel a delightful user experience."
The Asia Pacific region is the largest business travel market in the world, comprising 40% of global business travel, and is on track to grow at 10.4% CAGR between 2015 - 2023 (Europe 3.8%, US 4.1%). While current business travel solutions are designed for large corporations and traditional business travellers, the unmanaged travel space in Asia, which is increasingly dominated by millennials, needs a simpler and more flexible solution: one that keeps costs low, allows a level of flexibility and gathers all data and expenses into a single, easy-to-use interface.
Travelstop addresses this gap by providing a platform that simplifies business travel booking and automates the expense reporting process for employees. It uses advanced machine learning and AI-powered personalisation to make flight and hotel recommendations, reducing the hours needed by business travellers to research and book their travel. Employees also have access to an intuitive expense reporting tool that simplifies the expense reimbursement process.
Prashant Kirtane, Travelstop CEO said: "Young Millennials and business travellers in Asia are technology savvy, socially driven and are smart travellers that actively participate in the sharing economy. These travellers aspire for more meaningful travel experiences, and we at Travelstop are building a modern business travel platform for the next-gen traveller. Our goal is to not only provide a delightful and flexible travel booking experience, but also make the post-trip expense management process more efficient."
Travelstop plans to bring all the product innovation happening in the consumer space to the enterprise world -- leveraging technologies such as machine learning and AI-driven personalisation to build a compelling and modern experience for today's business traveller.
"Business travellers deserve to experience all the innovation and progress that the consumer space has made over the last several years," says Travelstop CTO, Vijay Aggarwal. "Our goal is to leverage machine learning and AI to power experiences for today's business traveller, while staying nimble and flexible by investing in modern infrastructure to power our platform."
Kirtane further added: "This round of funding will be used to drive product development, build a world-class development team in Singapore, and to ramp up growth through sales and marketing. In 2018, we will focus our energies on a few priority markets like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and will look to expand beyond these markets in 2019."
Travelstop is available for free for a limited period, sign up at www.travelstop.com
Travelstop is a revolutionary platform aimed at modernising and simplifying business travel. Using advanced technology and consumer-centric design, Travelstop offers tools that simplify and automate the entire business travel experience -- right from trip planning to expense reimbursements. Travelstop is meant to help companies save on costs by providing an affordable end-to-end solution. Backed by world-class VCs and notable individual investors, who bring a wealth of experience from companies including Yahoo!, Expedia and HomeAway, Travelstop is well positioned to shape the future of business travel. For more information, visit https://www.travelstop.com/
Travelstop is led by its management team and board of advisors, who bring a depth of experience in the travel industry to their roles, including:
- Prashant Kirtane, CEO and co-founder: Seasoned leader with 20 years of experience in senior management positions at Yahoo! and Expedia. Also founded travelmob.com - acquired by HomeAway-Expedia.
- Vijay Aggarwal, CTO and co-founder: Technology specialist with 16 years of experience in senior management positions at Yahoo!, travelmob, and HomeAway.
- Altaf Dhamani, CPO and co-founder: Product professional with over 12 years of experience building products for companies like Yahoo!, travelmob and HomeAway.
- David Ko, Advisor: President & COO of Rally Health, former Chief Operating Officer at Zynga and former Senior Vice President at Yahoo! (Mobile and Audience).