An integrated travel and expense management platform empowering travel and related expenses for hundreds of enterprises and leading startups globally, ITILITE is on a mission to simplify travel and expenses for organizations across the globe so they can move people and businesses forward easily while leaving all operational concerns behind. Express Computer spoke to Mayank Kukreja, CEO ITILITE, who shares with us, how his firm is disrupting and carving out a new market
Some edited excerpts:
ITILITE is growing at a blistering pace. How much is attributable to what is being deemed as “the return of business travel” and how much is attributable to your unique offering?
The growth is attributable to the focused effort our team has put in sharpening our product and in taking it to the market. Given we work in business travel, signing new customers is our primary growth driver. Monthly ups and downs of their travel volume is temporary phenomena and does not matter too much if you focus on long term growth of the company. It is due to our unique offering that customers have continued to sign up with us even when the travel volumes were low and as things open up today, our customer acquisition speed has increased multi fold.
As businesses return to pre-pandemic travel levels and in some cases exceed them, what are they looking for in a travel and expense solution?
Control and convenience were always the two primary considerations from a T&E solution, but the expectations across both axes have increased in the current context. Convenience now also requires things like easy access to travel and testing rules and being able to book only fully refundable fares as travel plans are more likely to change last minute. On the control side, applying specific remain one of the most common needs but companies now also want a live visibility of where their travelers are are all times so that they can contact or move them in emergencies.
How do you balance the need for controls and governance with the need for choice amongst the user base within a company?
From day 1, we have truly believed that control for the company and employee convenience is not a choice. Both are extremely essential for a great T&E program. And every product choice we have made since day 1 has reflected that. Unfortunately, the solutions in the market are focused only one of the 2 and companies are forced to choose between if they want a program which offers strong governance (and bad experience) or great experience (with no controls)
A simple example can illustrate the point. It is important for companies that their employees book economical flights while travelling, but does that mean that you have to force her to take a 5am flight because it is $10 cheaper than the one at 7am. Instead of forcing to book “the” most economical option, offer a range of economical options. A simple change but can make a great difference in employee experience where she doesn’t have to take approvals or justify an extra spend of $10 for 2 hours of sleep.
Who are your competitors?
Our biggest competition today is an offline process. While for personal travel all of us just open an app and book a flight or a hotel, in business travel travelers have to write to a travel desk, take approvals over emails and follow up over calls to make a booking. While there are products like Concur which companies use to automate parts of this process, almost always there is always some manual process going on within the chain leading to delays, errors, and frustration.
As you expand ITILITE, what are your next 3 areas of “attack?” Geographies, verticals, or adjacencies – how will you grow?
Larger customers in India, US and integrated Travel management & Expense are our 3 core focus areas for now.
We started with mid sized and we have had a very strong presence there for some time. The large enterprise segment, more than 10,000 employee companies, started gaining a lot of traction over the last 12 months as companies started moving towards T&E digitization with travel opening up. We launched in US last year and that’s growing very fast for us. We are already adding more customers per month in the US than in India. A big proportion of the new customers we get today are opting for integrated T&E and not just a travel or a reimbursement solution. This is one place where there is 10x value in 2 systems coming together. T&E is $1.5Tn dollar market and we are just getting started. We have a series of exciting announcements in the pipeline- some big customer wins and large product releases, but they will come out at the right time.