27/8/2018 – TravelStop, a new startup in Singapore founded by a team of former Yahoo! And Expedia employees announced that it raised US$1.2 million seed funding led by SeedPlus, a Singapore seed stage venture fund and an unnamed travel-focused venture capital firm based in the United States.
Other investors participating in the round also include former ex-Expedia senior business leaders Dan Lynn and Vikram Malhi; Rally Health President and COO David Ko; as well as Hyper Island Singapore regional operations director Jarrod Howe.
TravelStop just launched its operations in Singapore and the rest of Southeast Asia today after being founded in November 2017 by three entrepreneurs: Prashant Kirtane (CEO), Vijay Aggarwal (CTO), and Altaf Dhamani (CPO).
The trio worked at TravelMob, a room rental marketplace and later HomeAway which was bought by Expedia for US$3.9 billion in 2015. Following that, their first independent venture TravelStop was born.
“In all our experiences at previous employers, we were always frustrated with the process and tools available for business travel planning and expense reporting. So we decided to tackle this problem head-on and build something that we would love to use ourselves,” Kirtane said.
TravelStop is an AI-powered software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that simplifies businesses travel booking and automates the expense reporting process for employees. This consist of any kind of expenses from travel expenses incurred on a business trip or more routine claims such as monthly phone bills.
“We want to bring all the product innovation happening in the travel consumer space to the enterprise world by leveraging techs such as machine learning and AI-driven personalization to build a compelling and modern experience for today’s business traveler,” Kirtane explained.
TravelStop will use funding capital to drive product development, build a development team in Singapore, and ramp up their growth through sales and marketing.
For the remaining of 2018, the startup will also focus their energies on a few priority markets like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. In 2019, it will also look to expand beyond these markets in 2019.
Moving forward, the startup also plans to integrate the platform’s feature with existing HR and expense platforms used within a company.
It will also further strengthen and develop its machine learning to enhance its recommendation engine and bring in more suppliers including vacation rental inventory.
“In the coming weeks, we’re planning to launch local language sites and native app for iOS,” Kirtane said.