TravelPerk wins new funding for consumer-like business travel site

LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Corporate travel bookings start-up TravelPerk has raised $44 million in new venture funding and is on track to more than triple bookings to 1 million next year as it aims to transform the business travel market.

The Barcelona-based company is one of a clutch of new travel-management firms challenging established corporate platforms such as American Express, SAP's Concur and Sabre's Tripcase Corporate, as well as corporate travel agent sites.

The fresh round of funding will allow the company to triple the size of its engineering team and set up shop in London and Berlin, with further offices in Amsterdam and Paris to follow, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Avi Meir told Reuters.

On Tuesday, the company said it had raised the funding from Swedish investment firm Kinnevik, joined by Silicon Valley investors Yuri Milner and Tom Stafford.

Existing venture capital backers including Felix Capital and Target Global participated in the round. The three-year-old company has raised $75 million in total.

TravelPerk aims to treat business travellers like consumers, promising them the widest selection of flights without inflated prices or fees, while also giving firms more modern ways to control expenses in a $1.3 trillion industry.

Booking travel on the site more resembles signing up for rooms on Airbnb than it does the typical corporate travel site more designed to implement corporate budget polices than for ease of use.

The company counts nearly 1,500 firms as customers and calls itself "a consumer-grade travel platform for business".

It has garnered a travel-agent licence and built its own global computerised reservation network used for booking airline seats, hotel rooms and rental cars.

Company travel policies are embedded within the site, meaning that employees know what they can and can't book as they plan their travel.

"Business travel management systems are either something employees hate or CFOs hate," Meir said in an interview, adding that the company aims to simplify corporate travel.

"We talk about how booking travel should be an underwhelming experience." (Reporting by Eric Auchard in London Editing by Keith Weir)