[UPDATE, July 20, 2023: We added context around Cvent’s hotel sourcing tech.]

The Company Dime‘s Jay Campbell spoke with Eric Friedrichsen, CEO of Emburse, and Steve Reynolds, CEO and founder of Tripbam, about the Wednesday morning news of Tripbam’s acquisition by Emburse. Here are some highlights.

• Tripbam will initially run as a division of Emburse, with Reynolds reporting to Friedrichsen.

• Reynolds: Integrating with Emburse Go (formerly Roadmap) will enable Tripbam to be “on the traveler’s phone” and enable “real creative things around pre-trip that we haven’t been able to do before. There are probably 50 things to work on, and we have to prioritize where we start.”

Eric Friedrichsen, Emburse
Eric Friedrichsen, Emburse CEO

• Reynolds: “This [acquisition] was a long process. We were working on it for nine months.”

• Reynolds was Tripbam’s majority owner, with Thayer Ventures as an investor. Why do a deal now? “Multiple reasons,” said Reynolds. “When venture capital invests, they have a three to five-year horizon. Thayer has been with us for ten years, so it was like, ‘Guys, we need to figure this out.’ They have partners and they’re looking for that event. And I was looking for the right partner that brings additional scope, capital and expertise to the company to take what we do to a whole new level, whether that was private equity or a strategic buyer like Emburse.”

• Will Tripbam’s services be blended with Emburse’s and no longer available on a standalone basis? “Not at all,” said Friedrichsen.

• Some of the hotels took issue with Tripbam’s sourcing approach. Reynolds: “It’s growing rather nicely. We have tripled the number of customers on that product (year-over-year). During Covid, a lot of companies put sourcing on the sidelines, but now it’s all back in a big way. [Cvent’s] Lanyon is ripe for disruption. They haven’t done a whole lot with that product in years. Customers are looking for an alternative that has more value, and we do it a lot differently. We’re about continuous sourcing and dynamic discounts, where the once-a-year static rates and spending a bunch of money is that legacy model that needs to go away. And all the hotel chains seem to be good with it. You kind of have to be. It’s big enough now that if you don’t like it, you’ll just miss out on bids that go to your competition. All that noise has gone away this season.” Cvent has been updating its sourcing product and acknowledged running into some trouble with it.

• Emburse’s owner K1 Investment Management funded the deal. Friedrichsen and Reynolds declined to offer guidance on the price.

• Tripbam’s 36 employees are joining Emburse. “We’re excited about Tripbam coming on board because of the tech but even more because of the people,” said Friedrichsen.

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