Comtravo, a Berlin-based platform for business travel bookings, just raised additional €21 million in venture capital. The round is led by Endeit Capital and joined by new investors Deutsche Bank, AER Ticket, the largest seller of air travel tickets in Europe, as well as Jan Valentin, the former Head of Europe at Kayak. The existing investors Project A, Creandum and btov also participated in the funding round.
Founded in 2015, Comtravo’s software translates text-based requests like emails into structured data and uses AI technologies to offer the best travel options based on saved preferences and previous booking patterns. Personalized offers can be booked from an email with just one click. Comtravo was founded by Michael Riegel, Jannik Neumann, Marko Schilde and an experienced team of the travel and internet industry. Comtravo now has 110 employees. More than 700 medium-sized businesses in the DACH region use Comtravo.
Michael Riegel, founder and CEO of Comtravo, stated: “The German business travel market is huge – €52.5 billion. But it’s also very fragmented and shaped by tedious and inefficient processes. With Comtravo, we want to radically simplify the management of business travel. Since founding the company in 2015, we have managed to automate 60% of the processes by using technology, and we enjoy popularity from our customers and the continued support from our investors.”
In the past two years, the company has grown more than 300%, and its core business is now profitable. Among Comtravo’s ~700 customers are primarily medium-sized businesses from the DACH region, incl. the Nagel-Group, LG Innotek or Hachez. Comtravo’s systems handle over 1000 travel bookings per day. Standard requests (e.g., flight and hotel bookings) are already 60% automated with the help of technologies like natural language processing and artificial intelligence. More complex requests (e.g., group bookings) are still handled by travel experts.
“We want to use the fresh funding to automate 80% of the booking process in the near future. Currently, well-trained travel agents have to handle time-consuming, repetitive tasks instead of dealing with more complex requests. We want to change this by continuing to automate simpler tasks so that our travel agents can focus on the really important topics and on providing excellent service,” added Michael Riegel.
Philipp Schroeder, who earlier this year joined Endeit Capital as Partner, responsible for the DACH markerts, stated: “Technology and automation is constantly improving several segments of the travel industry, however, the remaining holy grail of B2B travel, SME travel, has yet to be conquered. We believe, that Comtravo has a leading position to tap into this market. Their engineering team of more than 30 people has built an outstanding tech stack that can automate the majority of its processes powered by Machine Learning. This leads to operational efficiencies and cost advantages on a large scale, enabling Comtravo to offer competitive prices and a superior service level to its customers. We are looking forward to working with this exceptional team with a strong mix of market know-how, data science, and operational excellence.”
Bookings on Comtravo can be done either, through the online booking tool, or by email. An internal software translates the email into structured data and automatically books the requested trip. This approach reduces the costs per booking dramatically, with the result that Comtravo can process business travel bookings almost 65% cheaper than traditional travel agencies.
Partners such as airlines and hotels are directly connected to Comtravo’s backend with interfaces that guarantee seamless integration and good fares. Integrating more and more providers keeps getting more important in the industry. In addition, a recommendation algorithm helps provide personalized offers in terms of price, availability, etc. based on travelers’ previous booking behavior, policies and other aspects. In the future, new features will be released as, for example, automatic check-in.