Joop Drechsel joins Comtravo as a member of the Supervisory Board

3 minutes read January 2020

The Berlin-based travel startup received an additional €9 million of funding, taking the total size of the funding round initially completed in September 2019 to €30 million. M12, Microsoft’s venture fund, and Joop Drechsel joined Endeit Capital, Deutsche Bank, Creandum, Project A, btov, AER Ticket and Jan Valentin as investors in the Series B round. Joop Drechsel, who will be joining the board, is the former CEO of BCD Travel, the second-largest travel management company globally.

“We’re excited to have another two very strong partners among our circle of investors. M12’s interest highlights our progress in technology and automation. Additionally, having the support of former BCD CEO Joop Drechsel, who was introduced to us by our new investor Endeit Capital, confirms how strongly our business model caters to the needs of our target group,” says CEO Michael Riegel.

Efficiency Through a Human-Machine Approach

Comtravo employs 110 people, of which approximately 50 are part of the Tech team. Since the founding of Comtravo, the team has been working on building an end-to-end solution that radically simplifies the process of booking and managing business trips by automating manual processes step by step. The system consists of three sets of technologies: setting up a backend to offer cheap fares through direct connections; using natural language processing (NLP) to automatically process text messages; and a recommendation algorithm that is based on artificial intelligence (AI) to provide customers with personalized options based on their preferences.

Regular requests (e.g., flight and hotel bookings) are already 60% automated, whereas more complex cases (e.g., group bookings) are still being handled by travel experts. This human-machine approach guarantees that processes are as efficient as possible, while at the same time achieving a high service level. “Compared to the processes used in traditional agencies, we see that we already process our bookings 60% faster and therefore also more efficiently,” Michael Riegel adds.

“Comtravo is disrupting the huge business travel market through deep automation and unique access to travel providers,” said Lior Litwak, Partner at M12. “We were very impressed with the company’s vision of increasing efficiencies for both businesses and travel agents without compromising on high-quality service and traveler experience. We are thrilled to join Michael, Jannik and Marko on their path to position Comtravo as a global leader in business travel innovation.”

Focus on SMEs and Expanding Strategic Expertise

Comtravo’s customers consist of 900 small and medium-sized businesses, primarily from the DACH region, e.g., the Nagel-Group, LG Innotek, and Hachez. “While young companies are usually adept at using online booking tools, more traditional companies prefer outsourcing their travel management tasks to agencies and using communication channels like email and phone,” remarked Michael Riegel. To address both needs, Comtravo offers travel managers and travellers their in-house built online and mobile self-booking tool as well as traditional booking channels (e.g., email or phone). What sets Comtravo’s solution apart is that the email channel is automated in a similar way to the online channel.

In addition to investing in the startup, Joop Drechsel will join the board of Comtravo to guide their long-term strategy. “I am very excited to be part of the Comtravo journey,” says Joop Drechsel. “Given my long history and vast experience in the business travel world, I’ve always been intrigued by the opportunities the SME business segment provides. I believe Comtravo has a uniquely strong combination of cutting-edge technology combined with a human touch”.

Wendy Horlings
Office Manager

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