Lola.com CEO Mike Volpe thinks business travel on the whole is just horrible – but he saw that as a big business opportunity.
Lola focuses on making it easier for medium-sized companies to manage corporate travel arrangements. Companies use the service to authorize employees to make travel-related purchases and set their own policies for those purchases. Employees then use the custom Lola experience to book work-related trips.
The Boston-based company is competing in an increasingly crowded space, but Volpe thinks Lola has another edge over rivals: its deal with American Express Global Business Travel, one of the largest players in the corporate travel market. American Express is using Lola to target medium-sized companies; its sales team markets Lola to those kinds of customers. And through that relationship, Lola gets access to special deals on airfare and hotels that are only available to American Express that it can offer its customers.
Corporate travel systems have traditionally been clunky, slow, and difficult to use for both employees and administrators alike, Volpe told Business Insider. From the company’s start in 2014, he designed Lola.com to be different. Co-founder Paul English, who was also a cofounder of Kayak, has experience in designing a popular and easy-to-use consumer travel sites, which helped inform the design of Lola.
Companies can get set up on Lola in less than an hour, according to Volpe, and once they’re on the system, their employees can book a trip in minutes. Lola offers 24/7 customer support that’s available within a minute, he said.
Investors are excited about Lola’s potential. In June of 2019, the company raised $37 million in a Series C funding round co-led by General Catalyst and Accel, according to PitchBook. Volpe expects the company to grow from about 75 employees to about 130 by the end of the year, all within its Boston headquarters.
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