Travel Startup TripIt Acquired by Seattle’s Concur for As Much As $120 Million; Handsome Exit for Azure Capital

1/13/11Follow @wroush

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using new resources from Concur to build additional services for business travelers who work for small and medium-sized companies, Brockway says.

“We will stay free, and try not to break what has gotten us this far,” says Brockway, who blogged about the acquisition today. “It’s about going faster. We started TripIt with a vision for a service that was going to make travel easier, and we’ve made a lot of progress toward that vision, but with the support and resources of the larger company, we can do more.”

Brockway called Concur “an absolute powerhouse” in business travel, adding “it’s a company we have known and had a lot of respect for since we started spending more time in the business travel marketplace.” (As Brockway explained to me as part of this in-depth Q&A, it wasn’t originally clear to TripIt’s founders whether their service would be more appealing to leisure travelers or business travelers, but today 80 percent of the trips tracked through the service are for business.)

Singh says the acquisition makes business sense for Concur because “there is a natural fit or synergy” between Concur’s existing services—used by large companies to manage employee travel reservations as well as travel expense reporting and reimbursement—and TripIt’s products, which are mainly used by travelers employed by companies too small to have dedicated travel offices.

“Here are two companies that serve millions of business travelers, and the services they both deliver are designed to make those travelers’ lives easier,” Singh says. “We saw the unmanaged travel space as something that was underserved, and there’s a great opportunity to deliver value and services.”

But will the end result be to make “unmanaged travel” feel more like corporate-approved managed travel? When I put that question to Singh and Brockway, their answer was a clear no.

“I want to make sure it’s crystal clear…that TripIt is going to stay a free service, and it will stay focused on individual travelers as our core audience,” says Brockway. “But that focus doesn’t preclude us from building services on top of that.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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