TripActions says hello to Europe
By Nicole Casperson
TripActions says hello to Europe
Corporate payments fintech TripActions Liquid launched in Europe making it the first — and only — fintech-powered travel and expense management offering that can support card issuance in multiple currencies.
Let’s never have to take another photo of our receipts for work travel.
Let’s never have to dig through the bottom of our bags for paper receipts.
Let’s never staple paper receipts together ever again.
With partners that include Stripe, Visa, Modern Treasury, and Plaid, TripActions is positioned to replace legacy, disparate travel, and expense solutions like manually filling out excel spreadsheets to tally up expenses.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
What makes this unique
→ Finance = culture. TripActions is making a space for employees across international waters to work for American companies and have corporate cards in their local currency.
→ Global companies with international travel can give employees physical and virtual corporate smart cards, with policies pre-set for ease of use.
→ This level of automation saves time + energy for finance teams by reducing reporting hours up to 66% and reconciliation time up to 95%.
→ Europe is just the first expansion: LatAm + APAC are next 🚀
What the Head of Payments told me
Palo Alto-based TripActions was among the fintech startups that were hit very hard by the pandemic (for obvious reasons). I caught up with Robin Gandhi who heads its fintech expense product, TripActions Liquid, which had launched only a month before the pandemic.
Here’s what I learned:
– Once you get outside the U.S. market, you remember that we’re very card-heavy while other cultures are cash-heavy. In other countries, employees don’t have access to personal CCs that can handle huge lines of credit.
– Employees should be rewarded for following company policies for corporate spending. Of course, TripActions Liquid automates that, but it’s important (for morale and company culture) to be quick to give your employees their money back within 24 hours.
– It’s insane to think employees have to wait for their manager to approve a spend that’s in policy and then wait to see the payback when payroll comes through. Not a great UX for your employees who you need to treat the BEST.
What if travel stops?
Virus variants are very real threats, but Robin is confident in TripActions and its businesses model since it diversified its offerings.
“Now, we’re managing employees’ spend of company money across the board, like it doesn’t matter if they’re buying a flight, getting a hotel room, or getting a coffee at Starbucks.”
→ Nontravel spend was up about 30% in January, and now it’s up to 55% as more folks prep to WFH indefinitely and upgrade their home offices.
I’d say, Robin’s got a pretty good hunch about these things. 🔮
TL;DR: Despite the steep costs to the travel industry in 2020, TripActions is a fintech that persevered because of its ability to quickly turn around new product offerings that catered to a changing environment.
When travel shuttered, Robin knew he could either run for the hills or put his head down and work on creating something new + necessary.
Pretend to be shocked: Bitcoin is volatile
ICYMI: Bitcoin and other crypto assets’ prices experienced a sharp decrease over the weekend, which always gets everyone stirred up.
Luckily, #Fintwit community royalty Caitlin Cook explained in 6 mins and 28 secs why the selloff happened and how we can change our mindsets about crypto assets when things get volatile ~ like they tend to do with any other asset class.
Why it matters
→ The debate over cryptocurrency is still shakey, especially when the price of Bitcoin plummets.
→ For investors that have not been educated before they allocate crypto assets, they might experience anxiety and contribute to these selloffs more so than long-term investors that have become well educated in crypto.
→ Crypto is not immune to global macro shocks or news (like virus variants) and we can expect lower prices and continued volatility through the end of the year.
→ Still, the moment of mass adoption for digital assets, blockchain, DeFi, metaverse and web3 technology has arrived.
Thanks to Cait, we can all take the time to think about our actions.
What to do next
Downtime this holiday season could be spent actually educating yourself on crypto.
Take time to reflect if crypto’s level of volatility is something you can stomach (pro tip from Cait) and don’t get caught up in the FOMO.
I am a believer that it’s largely up to financial advisors to educate themselves on crypto assets so they can properly cater to their clientele and the questions they may have.
Enter → Onramp Invest and its recent partnership with Ritholz Wealth Management + Wisdom Tree to tie together education for financial advisers and access for investors.
→ The crew is building the RWM WisdomTree Crypto Index designed to offer retail investors exposure to the crypto market through a financial advisor.
→ Onramp Invest provides the Separately Managed Accounts (SMA) platform to Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs).
→ Gemini serves as the trading platform and custodian.
Feeding two birds with one scone, they say?
Meet MAJORITY: Neobank for U.S. migrants
MAJORITY, a mobile banking service for migrants to the United States, raised $27 million in a Series A funding round just six months after raising $19 million in seed funding.
🔥 MAJORITY’s total funding = $46 million to date🔥
The new funds will be used to open a new U.S. headquarters in Miami and to quickly grow the team across the U.S. and Sweden.
What makes this unique
→ MAJORITY was founded in 2019 and in June 2021, the fintech scaled its operations to serve migrants throughout the U.S., following an initial focus on the Nigerian and Cuban communities in Texas and Florida, respectively.
→ The fintech has saved its Cuban members an average of $21 per month and Nigerian members an average of nearly $10 per member per month through its bundled product with transparent, lower fees for remittances, calling, mobile credits, and local discounts.
→ Following this fundraise, MAJORITY will begin opening its services to migrants who lack SSNs, allowing them to use government ID from any other country along with proof of a U.S. address instead.
What the CEO says
Magnus Larsson (a Swedish immigrant himself) is the founder and CEO at MAJORITY. He’s made it his mission to expand this niche neobank across many communities:
“A bank account is the starting point to so many other things for someone moving to a new country, and American bureaucratic delays and backup shouldn’t prevent people from being able to establish themselves here…this latest funding will help us continue to perfect our services and support this community that is the backbone of America.”
The app, which costs $5 per month, provides a range of features, including an FDIC-insured bank account with no overdraft fees, a debit card with community discounts, no-fee remittances, and at-cost international calling.
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