TripActions, a Palo Alto-based, corporate travel-focused unicorn, has secured a new, half-billion-dollar credit facility to help support the launch of its second product line. Called TripActions Liquid, the service helps companies that do not offer corporate cards to workers a way to avoid forcing those employees to use their personal cards to float costs for corporate travel.
Liquid plugs into the broader TripActions corporate travel service, which TechCrunch has written about here.
You can see where the debt fits into the news; if TripActions is going to float a lot of spend for other companies so that they can avoid temporarily offload travel spend to employee’s personal cards (which frankly should be illegal), it’s going to involve a lot of money — money that TripActions would rather not deduct from the business equivalent of its checking account. So, a short-term revolving credit line — the corporate version of a high-limit credit card, merely minus the usurious interest rates — is the answer.
Per the company, the money comes from “Silicon Valley Bank with participation from Goldman Sachs and Comerica Bank.” Or more specifically, the dollars are coming from the Iron Bank of California, its East Coast equivalent and Drake’s credit union. Jokes aside, it’s a good trio, showing presumably wide interest in helping funding TripActions’ new product.
Not that the company is itself short on funds. Crunchbase has more than $480 million in tracked equity funding down for the company, including a $250 million Series D from last June (a16z, Group 11, Lightspeed and Zeev Ventures). That funding round valued the company at around $3 billion, according to Crunchbase data.
According to a TripActions interview with TechCrunch, travel costs are “the second biggest expenditure that’s controllable for companies and most finance leaders feel like they’re not managing it well,” putting its Liquid product in a spot in the market where there’s demand from both employees and management for a better service.
With TripActions Liquid helping workers avoid taking on company expenses, and the TripActions product theoretically making booking travel itself a less onerous task, this news item could make life less bad for the working corporates among us.
On that note, a story. Watching members of the TripActions brass walk me through a product demo during a briefing for this post was actually a bit annoying. I am currently in a back-and-forth with various elements of my corporate home regarding travel that I booked through our current provider — I will not name them, but their moniker rhymes with fun-purr — about whether I booked the trip inside that same software suite. So I was curious about Liquid for the perspective of a corporate traveler who, you know, has other things to do than expenses. It did look less irksome and deleterious to my mental health than what I use today.
And with $500 million in available spend, TripActions has lots of room to fund it.
All this is well and good, but with a new product fired up, when is TripActions going to go public? It claimed to be growing quickly in 2019, when discussing its 2018 performance. Get on with it!