July 17, 2024

Q&A: TripStax CEO on the TapTrip acquisition

As TripStax announces the acquisition of TapTrip, we speak to TripStax CEO Jack Ramsey about the deal and what it means for TMCs and their corporate clients

What’s the rationale behind the decision to acquire TapTrip?  

Our roadmap for TripStax is to continue developing and enhancing the TripStax eco-system of applications, both organically and by acquisition. Bringing TapTrip onboard means we are also adding an online booking solution as an additional module within the TripStax eco-system, which will appeal to a TMC’s SME corporate clients. SMEs need a simple, cost-effective online booking tool without layers of complex features. TapTrip enables us to meet that need.  

TapTrip is also a great fit for TripStax culturally because we are both bringing a fresh and disruptive approach to the business travel tech landscape. It will also enable us to scale up our growth and tech innovation as TapTrip co-founders Tom Young and Jack Timblin are joining the TripStax business.

Tom Young will report to me and will take on a wider focus across the product organisation within TripStax.  Jack Timblin will report to Scott Wylie our CTO and will continue to focus primarily on TapTrip product development initially. Over time he will bring his talents into the wider group focusing on the enhancement of our extensive API touch points within the TripStax eco-system.

Who are you acquiring it from and how are you funding the acquisition?  

We are acquiring TapTrip from its multiple shareholders, which include Barclays, Techstars, Founders Factory and ATPI. I’m afraid further details of how the acquisition is being funded or structured are confidential.  

You mention ATPI. Can you clarify the existing relationship between TripStax and ATPI and how this deal affects that relationship?  

We’ve acquired ATPI’s existing stake, along with the stake of all other shareholders in TapTrip. TripStax operates as an entirely separate entity to ATPI’s TMC business, however the parent company ATPI Group as an investor in TripStax will retain a financial interest through the acquisition. As a TMC customer of TripStax, ATPI can still use TapTrip as one of the modules within our tech stack. Rather than ATPI managing TapTrip itself as a separate third party set of products, the TMC will now have the benefit of the platform being developed by its primary tech supplier, TripStax. Nothing changes in the relationship between ATPI and TripStax, other than TripStax now being the provider of TapTrip products, rather than TapTrip in isolation.

How will TapTrip’s tech be integrated with TripStax?  

TapTrip is already connected to the Core (the central data processing architecture that powers the TripStax modules) because the Core is responsible for the ingestion of bookable content, via the Content module. It consumes that content from multiple sources including the GDS providers and LCC aggregators. It will therefore be a straightforward process for TapTrip to become another module in the TripStax ecosystem, sitting alongside the other eight modules (Approve, Profile, Track, Analytics, Content, Docs, Portal and Mobile).  

What about TapTrip’s Vessul solution? Is it part of this acquisition and how will it be integrated with TripStax?  

Vessul is a TapTrip product designed to meet the online booking needs of group and crew travel, predominantly in the marine and energy sectors. Vessul is too specific to be a TripStax core proposition to most TMCs, so it will not form part of our main tech stack from a commercial perspective. However, Vessul is a value platform for ATPI with their dominance in marine and energy sectors. We will therefore continue to develop the tech in partnership with ATPI exclusively as a TMC customer who knows that sector so well.

What does this deal mean for your TMC clients and their corporate customers?  

The addition of TapTrip as an OBT within the TripStax eco-system will mean that TMCs have access to an online solution tailored to their SME corporate clients. It is very user-friendly, quick and easy to use which will appeal to bookers, travellers and managers at SME businesses who do not require complex features. We don’t want to try and replicate an enterprise OBT as we respect the players that already do that well, but we do see opportunity to make a simple to use booking product available to our TMC customers and their smaller clients.   

Also because TapTrip is already connected to the TripStax ecosystem it means all bookings made via the tool flow through into the other TripStax modules. This gives our TMC customers the ability to sell TripStax solutions as a fully-integrated package. On the reverse, it also makes it really simple for customers who’ve already adopted other modules to simply switch on TapTrip.  

Wouldn’t TMCs already have a booking tool? Why would they switch?

The vast majority (if not all) TMCs we speak to have one or more booking tools in their inventory. We’re not looking to try and replace existing TMC booking tools; in fact we embrace the integrations we already have with many of them. But for those TMCs that are interested in tapping into the SME corporate space, which doesn’t require the complexity built into many booking tools, we think TapTrip is a good fit. Unlike other tech providers we’re not looking to take over the world with a booking tool, simply offer our TMC customers another option for a specific and growing segment of the market.

What about the rest of the TapTrip team? Are they also joining TripStax?  

TapTrip has a small team, mostly made up of highly talented developers and product managers who are all joining the TripStax family. In the short term the TapTrip office in Manchester will remain, but the majority of our people are spread around the world and work remotely. We have a very relaxed ethos in terms of where people work. The world is full of fun and exciting environments to collaborate in!

Neil Ruth, who was also one of TapTrip’s founders, left TapTrip prior to the acquisition by TripStax and has joined digital development company xDesign. He was the brainchild behind the TapTrip and Vessul brands and led the business to successfully signing a long-term agreement with a global bank for the use of TapTrip by their business banking customers. His creative and commercial talents will take him to great places in the future.