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Tradeshift has acquired Hyper, the company behind the portable travel assistant by that name. The move gives the enterprise software provider an opportunity to extend its reach into a new vertical: business travel. Hyper said that existing users will still be able to use its app, but it will now be more business travel-focused.
Although financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Hyper cofounder Minqi Jiang told VentureBeat that “all stakeholders in the company, including seed investors, advisors, and employees, made a positive return.” Both of the founders are joining Tradeshift, where Jiang will focus on design and end client needs, while Peter Zakin will lead operations on the platform side.
There was no intention to sell this early, according to Jiang. Hyper and Tradeshift were originally supposed to have a sales meeting, but then Tradeshift became interested in Hyper’s “human-in-the-loop, real-time messaging technology.” Now that the deal is sealed, Jiang hopes that his team will be able to leverage more resources to improve the tech behind his product and extend its reach into the enterprise.
Hyper launched in January with the goal of making corporate travel more efficient through the use of virtual assistants. As Jiang and Zakin told us at the time, the idea emerged out of experiences they had while working at Google and Venmo, respectively: Both were frustrated by how travel is booked through brick and mortar travel agencies. They sought to overcome these inefficiencies with an app that is similar to messaging services and assistants like Facebook M and Operator.
When you need to book a trip, the system will route your request to a team of call agents located in the U.S. and overseas. Hyper says that these agents have deep domain expertise to respond with the best options for your trip. You can tell the service your preferences, like whether you want window or aisle seating, single occupancy hotels, what type of car you want to rent, and more.
We’re told that the acquisition closed in May, and today Tradeshift announced a by-product of the relationship: A virtual assistant for business travel. Called Tradeshift Go, it’s aimed at simplifying payments and bookings, and the company claims that it will “overcome common problems that have long plagued mid-sized businesses” — including credit card reconciling, fraud, and inefficient transaction processes.
The new service uses a mix of machine learning and human intelligence to provide a useful experience for businesses. It pulls in the chat interface from Hyper, giving employees a comfortable screen through which to input their needs. And it’s not just a mobile app but is also accessible through a web browser, and by email. Tradeshift Go also provides analytics so that you can track transactions that include buyers, approvers, and department codes. Email alerts can be enabled to warn finance teams of suspicious purchases or let them know if budget limitations are exceeded.
Hyper had raised $410,000 in funding from HLVP, Greylock Partners, and others. Its service was free to consumers, and it had a business plan for $25 per user per month that offered additional features, such as advanced reporting, group bookings, expense and duty of care integrations, and more.
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