Corporate travel automation doesn't have an interesting ring to it. Unlike an online beauty or a fashion venture, a start-up dealing in corporate travel might be considered quite boring, to say the least.
But for first-time entrepreneur Sajit Chacko, it has been an eventful journey ever since 2015 when he launched Tripeur, a start-up specialising in automation of corporate travel. But Tripeur was not his first foray into entrepreneurship.
Chacko dabbled in gigs, restaurant trade, grain trade, and newspaper digitisation. He met a lot of CFOs and CHROs before realising that corporate travel automation was an opportunity wide open. Along the way, he also met his co-founder Thiagarajan Rajagopalan - fondly called Thia - who dabbled with multiple start-ups in the Bay area of the US and also held leadership positions in companies like Motorola, Qualcomm and Mobileum.
So, what does Tripeur do? Simply put, the start-up offers a technology that integrates with the finance and HR systems of a corporate, enabling it to create trip requests, apply policies, manage approvals and book tickets among other things.
More importantly, it provides detailed insights into the behavioural and transactional aspects of the whole process, which, as per Chacko, helps companies save money in the overall travel budget.
"We have worked with a company whose monthly travel expense was around Rs 3 crore and after using Tripeur, the outgo dropped by as much as 50 per cent," says Chacko, an alumnus of Institute of Hotel Management, Chennai.
Currently, the venture boasts of clients including Meesho, Paperboat, DTDC, Livspace, Paragon and Udaan among others. Incidentally, while the start-up was launched in 2015, it managed to get its first client only in 2017.
"For many companies, corporate travel is the second-biggest cost component after salary. Our platform simply lets you control, monitor and save on travel budget," he adds.
But how exactly does Tripeur help companies save money on travel costs? The start-up has three sets of users - the traveller, the admin team, and the CFO.
For the traveller, the Tripeur platform creates a trip request, chooses the services through live content and gets approval within seconds. His entitlements, approval hierarchy, content management and budgetary allocation are all managed automatically by the system.
As for the admin team, it can monitor all transactions, keep tabs on budgets, edit and create policies and also analyse transactional and behavioural impact on spends. And all this is done on a real-time basis.
Finally, the CFO can have real-time access to MIS across functions, cost centres, vendors, timelines, and datelines. The CFO can also keep track of variances from budgeted amounts.
"Our technology helps eliminate all layers between the purchaser and the vendor. As much as 80 per cent of the transactions happen with no offline mediation, thus helping us deliver tickets in under two minutes," explains Chacko.
While the initial few years had been tough for the venture and just when it thought it had settled a bit came the pandemic, which made corporate travel a non-existent segment. Fortunately for the start-up, corporate travel has picked up again and it is witnessing a significant number of transactions on its platform.
"Today, we have 30 per cent of our new customers coming through existing customer referrals, which we feel is a validation of how useful we have been to them," says Chacko while adding that the platform has processed more than two million transactions till date.
Tripeur charges customers per transaction for usage of the platform and services. It also earns a commission from its service partners.
The Bengaluru-headquartered start-up has received three rounds of funding. The list of investors includes Incubate Fund, Sense AI, Pentathlon, Patni, Survam along with a few angel investors.
Copyright©2021 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today