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Concur acquires TripIt in $82m+ deal

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20th Jan 2011
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International expenses management specialist Concur raised its profile this month with an $82m deal to acquire TripIt, the web-based travel management site that lets other people know where you are heading.

Among social media-using business travellers TripIt has achieved a similar trend-setting kudos as Facebook or Twitter. The Cloud travel management application takes email confirmations sent by airlines, hotels and car rental agencies and assembles them into an online itinerary for each of your trips.

Last year it added an automatic import facility for Gmail and Google Apps users so you don’t even have to forward emails, it will just collect them for you.

Like LinkedIn, TripIt allows members to build up a network of friends with whom they can share their itineraries to schedule meetings while on the move.

TripIt has also branched out into mobile apps for iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android models and recently collaborated on a smartphone app for Amex card users.

The cynical observer might suggest that Concur has handed TripIt’s investors some $82m in cash and stocks - potentially rising to $120m if performance targets are met – to gain a bit of reflected social media trendiness in much the same way that Rupert Murdoch’s News International moved on MySpace back in 2005.

But the prospect of further integration between automating the trip planning and purchasing process with back end expenses management is intriguing. Organisations may be able to set pro-active controls for the tickets and rooms staff book and to automatically authorise and settle payments afterwards, while collecting data on expenses commitments at the time they are made.

The combination will deliver additional value to existing clients and travellers and expand the Concur’s market by reaching a new community of travellers who were previously outside the orbit of traditional managed travel solutions, the company claimed in its announcement of the deal.

“Together, we solve challenges along the entire business travel process – from booking, through in-trip activities and sharing trip information, to post-trip expense management and reconciliation,” said Concur chairman and CEO Steve Singh.

Having pocketed his share of the Concur windfall, TripIt CEO Gregg Brockway said he was “invigorated” by the deal in a TripIt blog post.

The deal doesn’t just plug TripIt into the Concur user community, but also the “hundreds of third party developers who are a part of the TripIt API ecosystem” he said.

“TripIt will continue to be offered as it is today, but better and more available to travelers and companies everywhere… I see this as a new beginning.  We climbed up the hill to this point, but we’re not resting on our laurels.  There are more opportunities, challenges, and adventures ahead.  With Concur we’ll expand our presence among current customers, tackle the unmanaged travel space, reach out to new geographies, and go where no travel company has gone before.”

In a subsequent announcement, Concur also reported the formation of Concur Japan in a joint venture with Japanese entrepreneur Shigeru Fujii, and SunBridge Corporation, the company behind Salesforce.com’s Japanese joint venture. Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff is a minority investor in the Concur, which indicates another avenue for potential marketing and technology collaboration.

It looks like 2011 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for online business travel and expense management.

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By Michael Wood
20th Jan 2011 21:26

TripIt is a fantastic service

If anyone travels a lot, or has clients that travel a lot I would strongly recommend TripIt to them: it's free service is a great way to bring organisation to numerous travel bookings, check in codes, etc.

It will be interesting to see what this acquisition means for the service...

 

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John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
21st Jan 2011 08:32

Yes, but...

Thanks for your comment Michael, but one thing that bothers me about TripIt is the privacy/personal security. Do the benefits you get from sharing your itineraries with your personal network outweigh the risks of having so much data about you and your movements in a semi-public domain?

More than once I've thought about the possibility of using TripIt if you wanted to serve a writ on someone (I wonder if Julian Assange uses it?) and executive protection advisers might also have something to say about that.

The recurrent rumbles about Facebook data security - and who might have access to it - are a reminder that the existence of so much information about you and your movements on the Net do pose privacy risks.

Me? When I'm travelling, rather than filling up every spare minute with networking and meetings, I usually like to be left alone to skulk around the electronics section of the duty free store or to catch up with my never-ending workload.

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