In the ever-evolving landscape of fintech, it’s time for companies to rethink their approach to disruption. While the entry of one or two fintechs on the market was initially exciting, hundreds of fintech companies and options are now available. As an industry, we must shift our focus from disruption toward collaboration to further innovation. Partnerships should take center stage: It’s time to move away from being disruptors solely for the sake of disrupting and embrace the power of collaboration.
The recent launch of Navan Connect underscores the incredible power of partnerships, and it’s an opportune moment for me to stop and share more about our holistic, inclusive approach to partnerships at Navan. This new product is the epitome and end product of prioritizing the user and valuing collaboration over everything else.
We spent months working with our valued partners, Mastercard® and Visa®, to bring the magic of the Navan expense solution to any corporate card. The joint collaborations that made this product a reality are nothing short of transformative.
As the launch makes clear, we’re not here to replace institutional players — we aim to work alongside them — uniting the industry through a collaborative approach that benefits all parties involved. Plus, as a company, recognizing the importance of partnerships can expand our total addressable market, lower acquisition costs, elevate the company’s brand presence, and bring about numerous other benefits.
Here, I’ll share my philosophy around building partnerships and show how it’s altered Navan’s approach, with hopefully some takeaways for you.
The decision between building a solution in-house or buying an existing one continues to challenge businesses across industries. Both options have pros and cons, making it crucial to carefully evaluate the factors involved.
We faced the build-versus-buy dilemma when first building Navan Expense and considered several factors:
Customization and Control
Time-to-Market and Expertise
Total Cost of Ownership
Risk and Reliability
Navan took a different approach to the classic build-versus-buy dilemma. Instead of viewing it as an either/or choice, Navan actively sought out partnerships and collaborations, recognizing the value of both building and buying. Our goal was to deliver an enhanced user experience that would impress and satisfy travelers, admins, travel managers, and other employees, including the CFO. This approach, exemplified by Navan Connect, showcases the transformative potential of partnerships in driving fintech evolution.
Navan Connect represents a new era of fintech innovation, where companies can maintain their trusted banking relationships while benefiting from seamless expense automation, real-time visibility into global T&E spend, and the ability to issue cards to every employee. Navan Connect connects to the networks, like Mastercard or Visa, offering real-time notifications and policy controls for all commercial cards. This breakthrough technology allows us to automate the entire expense process, regardless of the card or bank chosen by a company.
By embracing partnerships and leveraging the expertise of established institutions, Navan can focus on what we excel at: building exceptional technology and user applications. We collaborate with infrastructure experts like AWS for cloud hosting, GDS for seamless travel inventory integration, and banks for providing underwriting, credit, and corporate cards. This collaborative approach ensures that each party plays to their strengths, resulting in a holistic solution that delivers unparalleled value to our customers.
This type of collaboration transforms a service provider into a true partner, allowing each party to focus on the areas in which they excel, ultimately providing users with more freedom and superior solutions.
In a rapidly evolving fintech landscape, reimagining revenue streams, forging strategic partnerships, and delivering exceptional user experiences are key to success. Navan’s commitment to reinventing banking and providing a comprehensive solution that encompasses automation, stability, and trust positions us at the forefront of fintech innovation. Together with our partners, we are building a brighter future for finance — one that resonates with the needs and aspirations of businesses and individuals alike.
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