A BIGGER MOUSETRAP

​Industry Shakeup: Concur Founder Steve Singh and Investors Buy Direct Travel

Steve Singh, Executive Chairman of Direct Travel

Concur founder Steve Singh and a group of investors have acquired global TMC, Direct Travel.

Singh, a prominent venture capitalist and founder of Concur, the world's largest travel and expense management company, teamed up with leading growth investors to make the acquisition. Those investors include Durable Capital Partners, Madrona Ventures, Top Tier Capital Partners, and Blackstone Credit & Insurance.

Singh will serve as Executive Chairman of Direct Travel, and Christal Bemont, also previously with Concur, will assume the role of CEO.

“The investment thesis is about building the market’s leading travel management company and being at the forefront of technical innovation,” Brian Robertson, President, Canada West, Direct Travel, told Open Jaw.“It’s very exciting times, for sure.”

Direct Travel is one of the world's largest travel management companies, serving more than 4,500 mid-market and enterprise clients.

“Direct Travel has built a reputation as a world class travel management company that delivers an unparalleled client experience,” officials said. “Integrating its own AI innovations around client experience with a modern integrated travel technology stack from Spotnana (Travel-as-a-Service platform), Center (card-first expense management platform) and Troop (group meetings and events platform), the company sees an opportunity to set a global standard for The Perfect Trip."

"Over the past few years, our investment group has sought out companies that are re-inventing key elements of the travel ecosystem with a goal of delivering a dramatically better value proposition to business travellers, the companies they work for, and the travel providers that serve them,” said Singh. “Direct Travel sets the bar for customer experience. We are delighted to invest in and partner deeply with what we believe will be the market leading travel management company.

"We are honoured to serve thousands of clients across North America and the EU, ranging in size from thriving middle market businesses to some of the largest companies in the world,” Singh said. “We will invest to meet our customers' current needs, grow our customer base in each of the markets we serve, methodically expand the number of markets we serve, and the breadth of products we deliver to our clients."

As part of the acquisition, long-serving Direct Travel CEO Ed Adams, who founded the company in 2011 and helped establish it as a market leader, plans to retire.

Bemont, the newly appointed CEO of Direct Travel, was formerly CEO of Talend, and before that served as the CRO of SAP Concur. Bemont has extensive travel industry experience, having spent over 15 years at SAP Concur, a multi-billion-dollar company operating in 90 countries.

"I want to take this opportunity to recognize and thank Ed. He is an amazing person and accomplished leader who has developed a world-class organization with an unwavering commitment to customer success," said Bemont. "I look forward to building on this tremendous foundation supporting our existing customers, and, alongside the talented leaders at Direct Travel and several former Concur executives, our goal is to build the most admired and innovative travel management company in the industry."

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