Your last 10 emails with a recruiter before an onsite interview probably shouldn’t be about rebooking your canceled flight.
Pana is a Denver startup now setting its sights on the corporate travel market, with a specific eye towards killing the back-and-forth email or spreadsheet coordination. The startup, founded in 2015, first tried to gain an inroad with consumers, but its $49 per month individual-focused travel concierge plan probably limited its reach.
The company’s latest shot at taking on corporate travel lets companies use the service to outsource dealing with out-of-network “guests.” The startup is looking to take this path as an inroad into the broader corporate travel market, and is making the apparent choice to work with more expansive corporate travel companies like SAP’s Concur rather than against them, initially at least.
The company just closed a $10 million Series A round led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from Techstars, Matchstick Ventures, and MergeLane Fund. Previous investors also include 500 Startups, FG Angels and The Galvanize Fund.
Pana is already booking thousands of trips per month for companies using the service to coordinate business travel for interviewees. Rather than leaving recruiters to the arduous process of back-and-forth messaging to hammer out initial details, Pana takes care of it through an omni-channel mesh of automation and human concierge in-app chat, text or email.
“A key piece of the value proposition is that if you do ask something complex, we’re going to instantly connect you to a human agent,” founder Devon Tivona told TechCrunch in an interview. “When it does go to a person, we have a five-minute response time.”
Getting a flight booked for someone outside the company directory can be challenging enough, but with travel, everything grows infinitely more complex the second that something goes awry. In addition to functioning as a tool for coordination, the startup’s team of assistants are there to help re-book flights or re-arrange travel if everything doesn’t go according to plan.
Even if Pana is working with the big corporate travel agencies today, its investors are banking on the startup accomplishing what the giants can’t at their scale.
“…Whenever a really large incumbent, particularly in software gets acquired, and I’m thinking about when SAP acquired Concur five or so years ago, it creates this massive innovation gap that allows, I’d say, new startups to really reinvent the status quo,” Bessemer partner Kristina Shen told TechCrunch in an interview.
Pana’s current customers include Logitech, Quora and Shopify, among others.
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