In this third year of CFO’s Tech Companies to Watch, we found a notable shift in the applications being offered by vendors. In every functional area of the companies that made our annual list — process management, recruiting, travel expenses, receivables management, and compliance among them — the goal is unearthing the real story behind the data to make more intelligent decisions.
The entirety of the list appears in the April/May 2019 edition of CFO magazine. We are revealing the first 10 companies on CFO.com, one per day. Our first four tech companies to watch were FortressIQ, Behavox, Completed.com, and Yaypay. Today, we cover travel deal tracker Yapta.
We’ve all had the frustrating situation of booking a flight or hotel, only to see the price drop dramatically a day or two later. At the corporate level, those price fluctuations can add up to millions of dollars a year.
Seattle-based Yapta tracks airfare and hotel rates not only before booking, but also after. With its FareIQ and RoomIQ services, if a fare or rate drops enough to make changing the reservation worth it, the traveler gets an alert. Yapta takes into account any change fees from the airline, hotel, or travel management company before sounding the alarm.
Users can set a savings threshold they want met before being alerted. For instance, a corporate travel manager may decide he doesn’t want to be bothered unless the company will save at least $50. Yapta can even automatically rebook the ticket or hotel in some cases.
Yapta says so far clients see an average savings of 4%. In dollar terms, clients save on average $260 per plane ticket and $109 per hotel stay. Shell, for instance, saved $6.5 million—$3.9 million on airfare and $2.6 million on hotel spend—during its first year using Yapta.
Nearly all of Yapta’s customers are on a payment plan where Yapta takes 35% of that savings. That’s it for costs, unless the company opts for other services, like the automated rebooking function. “The client is always guaranteed a return on investment for using our product,” says CEO James Filsinger. “If they do not save any money, they don’t pay us.”
For the traveler, the experience may be invisible. Yapta only follows airfares with the same flight number, departure date and time, airline, cabin class, and ticket type as the original flight. And it only tracks hotel rates at the same hotel originally booked.
The enterprise offering is a shift from when Yapta started out in 2007 with a travel price-tracking tool targeted at consumers. In 2011, Concur (now SAP Concur) invested $5 million in the company and suggested a pivot to the enterprise space. For customers, there’s nothing to install and no risk, so it seemed like capturing some of the market would be easy.
Cracking the corporate market was a challenge. “No one wanted to be first,” Filsinger says. “We did a lot of pilot [programs] to begin with to prove value.”
Once Yapta signed General Electric in 2014, the dominoes started to fall. Yapta now has more than 8,000 corporate customers across 36 countries, including 39 of the companies in the Fortune 100.
Yapta’s revenues grew ninefold between 2013 and 2017, placing it on the Deloitte list of 500 fastest-growing tech companies in North America in 2018 for the second year in a row. In 2018, unaudited revenues were $23.4 million.