Behind every successful C-suite executive is an unsung hero who labors quietly behind the scenes to help their wise and fearless leader shine like the star they are. It is the noble executive assistant who anticipates, organizes and manages the details of everyday life so the CEO doesn’t have to wonder if their social security number has a ‘4’ in it.
Booking business trips was once an arduous undertaking for the assistant extraordinaire – fraught with all the complications and crises that can come with traveling and a tightly-packed schedule. Enter tech-startup TravelPerk, an intuitive, engaging tool meant to provide flexibility – exit row, aisle, left side of the plane, vegan meal, please – and budgetary parameters for any travel situation.
Avi Meir is the co-founder and CEO of TravelPerk and he is looking to disrupt a “mammoth and outdated $1.3 trillion market” with his company. A one-stop-shop for booking travel for oneself or others; building work travel policies; consolidating travel payments to one vendor; and expense-tracking with options for smart cuts and changes.
“Our all-in-one platform covers the whole travel management process. Everything from booking to reporting – cutting down on time and increasing savings. Managers no longer have to choose between old-school travel agent or unmanaged chaos,” Meir said in a 2018 interview.
“With TravelPerk, companies can customize spending limits and automate travel policies easily, and allow travelers to self-book according to their own preferences. It’s really a team-wide impact. Everyone saves time without sacrificing control or flexibility. Plus, support is outsourced to our 24/7 team. It’s a full circle,” he added.
TravelPerk announced in October 2018 that they had successfully raised $44 million in series C funding with an additional $60 million being added to the round this July. Led by the investment group Kinnevik, the Barcelona-based startup brought the total amount to $105 million for this round.
Kinnevik is a Swedish investment company that is helping TravelPerk upend the travel industry. Founded in 1936, the firm is an active investor with a long-term approach for their portfolio companies. The firm focuses primarily on digital consumer brands and they hold significant stakes in approximately thirty companies situated in 80 countries on five continents.
As far as the future goes, Meir has no intention of resting on his tech-travel laurels. “We’ve got big plans. With the spotlight on the industry, now more than ever, we’ve gotta keep up the pace. That means continuing our aggressive scaling in hiring, client acquisition… all across the board.”
“More specifically, deepening our focus on serving the traveler. We started by building the necessary business functions for the office team,” he said. “Now, we’re investing in support, in our mobile app, and always, always deepening our inventory across verticals… to better serve the traveler’s needs. We’ve also just opened new offices in London and Berlin, with Amsterdam and Paris likely to come next.”
As for the executive assistants, they are likely grateful for Meir’s efforts to make their professional life just a little bit easier.