In another example of how competitive the expense management space has become, Brax announced today its expansion into travel.
In addition to seeking to wrest market share from incumbents such as Concur, Brax is also launching startups such as Navan (formerly TripAction) – which previously started its business in travel expense management. By expanding the offering – And also Ramp, himself It is extended to travel last year.
In an interview with TechCrunch, CEO and founder Henrique Dubougras said that Brex Empower users can now book rides in the Brex mobile app. The company said it had been building the product for more than a year and was in private beta for several months before making it available to the public this week. Although there are different players in the space, Konkur and Navan are the main competitors for Brex Travel, he said.
Part of the goal of the new provision is to implement budgeting capabilities for travel expenses, Dubougras said.
“Sometimes companies have a perception that the best way to reduce travel costs is to get people cheap flights or cheap hotels and make two stops on the way to two places,” he said. “We really believe the best way to control it is by helping some trips never happen.”
For example, finance teams can look at data — say a company has a $100,000 T&E budget — and spend it on corporate cards in real time and then decide which trips should be prioritized, Dubugras said.
The new travel feature automatically submits receipts so the employee doesn’t have to speak, check out the hotel, and then upload the receipt. It also does things like notifying the employee if something is out of policy and needs further approval. And if a company requests it, employees can only see the flight and hotel options in the policy.
Brakes chooses not to accept commissions from airlines or hotels that don’t offer expensive flights or hotels as an option, Dubougras said.
He added, “Some companies are paid not to show those because they know that corporate buyers have less value.” But we think this undermines confidence in the system. And since travel is not our main business, we decided not to take the money and basically we have completely unbiased items and we show all the flights and all the hotels.
Brakes monetizes the new offer by charging travel fees, which may vary by company depending on the amount of travel.
Another feature designed to simplify travel bookings allows employees to book flights to another country and within the same country at the same time. Usually the two places are required to be done separately. The application aims to make it easier for employees working in different countries to travel within the country and pay for travel in different currencies, he added.
Specifically, in building the new travel offering, Brex partnered with a company called It has been seen. And it’s white-labeling “travel-as-a-service” software that provides back-end infrastructure that integrates with international airlines and hotels.
“I think it’s kind of like a ‘trip for a trip,'” Dubougras said.
Brakes said it has integrated Spotnana’s travel-related capabilities with mobile app, card and expense management capabilities to provide travel policies, traveler profiles and workflows for booking and reporting. The company says it’s built “a lot of customization” on top of SpotNana in an effort to “make spending simple and seamless” for travelers. Also, Spotnana’s inventory search API is what helps Brex provide travel budget estimates to users.
From a technology perspective, the company said it chose Spotnana because of its microservices-based architecture, open APIs, “versatile” travel content, scalable data infrastructure, and extensive library of white-labeled UI components.
Brax has announced its expense management product, Empowerment.in April 2022. Today Brax says companies in more than 120 countries like DoorDash, Coinbase, Indeed, Superhuman, SeatGeek, Built Technologies and Scale AI are users of the product. Travel customers at Empower include GoGuardian, Miso Robotics, FMX, Satellite Healthcare and more.
The company also announced that it has started migrating all card customers to Empower.
Startups are clamoring to take the pain out of managing travel expenses. In February, Navan (formerly TripActions) said it was the first travel company to integrate open AI and ChatGPT APIs into its infrastructure and product suite. The company said it is currently using generative AI technology to write, test and debug code to increase operational efficiency and reduce overhead. In time, program managers can ask Ava, Navan’s virtual assistant, to report itineraries in text, graphs, PDFs and more, the spokeswoman said. she added. From eliminating expense reports to automatic detailing – and as for the hotel folio, we bring it from the hotel immediately after the stay, classify the line items, compare that with the company’s policy and provide it to the user, so there is no need for them. [to] Flip the coins to balance the folio – this process is very painful in my experience.
When Ramp unveiled its own travel product last year, CEO and co-founder Eric Gleiman told TechCrunch that it would be offered at no additional cost to existing customers and any new ones. Ramp said he plans to use AI-powered software to “fully automate” companies’ expense reporting, automatically collect invoices and allocate all travel-related expenses. The company said the offer refers to out-of-policy purchases and allows employees to book travel on any service they want.
Thirty-year-old Concur also has trip-based provisioning with features like Concur Request, which allows businesses to create a “customizable advance cost control document to identify anticipated costs.”
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