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Navan celebrates its 9th birthday

Navan celebrates its 9th birthday

Samantha Shankman

1 May 2024
6 minute read
Navan's 9th birthday

As Navan marks its ninth anniversary, we feel, in many ways, that we’ve reached cloud nine. Why? We offer a solution singular to the market, continue to lead the disruption of a previously legacy industry, and the business has expanded — geographically and in its proprietary offerings. But we have our sights set on reaching even greater heights with our teams across Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific.

For nearly a decade now, Navan has realised great success by embracing change. We’ve never shied away from reconsidering who we are as a team, brand, and product, to more fully step into our mission of connecting the world in person. 

Along the way, Navan has rewritten the rules of travel and expense management. We’ve transformed a legacy industry and outdated process marked by disconnected technology and middlemen into a dynamic, self-serve platform that propels businesses forward.

While our teams will toast to their successes in offices around the world today, we’d love for our customers and peers to join us in reflecting on pivotal moments that have shaped our company and set the stage for a future filled with promise and continued innovation. 

From innovative product launches and strategic expansions to overcoming global challenges, each year has brought exciting developments that have redefined us. Here’s a look back — and ahead.

Launching into uncharted territory 

In 2015, Ariel Cohen and Ilan Twig launched Navan (previously known as TripActions) — a modern travel management platform that brought a legacy industry online and made it largely self-serve for the first time.

Scaling to new heights

Exponential growth in Navan’s early years signalled the demand already percolating for simpler, streamlined business travel management and suggested that Navan’s innovative approach was resonating. Navan reached 100 employees and attained unicorn status with its Series C funding — a testament to our rapid ascent in the market.

Redefining expense management

Navan launched Navan Expense (previously known as TripActions Liquid), a new technology and platform that eliminated expense reporting by automating and streamlining everything from policy controls to receipt capture. Navan Expense built on the travel payments product that eliminated the hassle of travel booking reconciliation and was a frontrunner in merging travel and financial operations. 

The travel and financial industries have since seen an unprecedented merging of its operations, tech stack, and audience — making the 2020 launch of Navan Expense, and the work leading up to it, even more prescient. By 2024, Navan’s innovative approach to expense management landed the solution on the Forbes Fintech 50 three years in a row and was consistently ranked the No. 1 solution by real users on G2.

Product expands in pandemic response

When business travel paused in 2020, Navan responded and adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by quickly crafting and introducing countless new features that provided customers with timely access to information critical for their travel operations and the safety of travellers.

Some of the business travel continuity features rolled out in the days and weeks following border closures in March 2020 were an enhanced administrative dashboard, more fine-tuned policy controls, destination and airline safety and hygiene data, automated integration of unused tickets and travel waivers and a free, public-facing COVID-19 data site.

Rapid global expansion 

Starting with Reed & Mackay in 2021, Navan led a series of five strategic acquisitions across Europe and India over 18 months, including Comtravo, Resia, Tripeur, and Atlanta Events & Corporate Travel Consultants.

Through these expansions, the company formed the Navan Group, broadening its geographic footprint and establishing wholly owned office locations in key markets. The acquisition spree underscored Navan's commitment to growth on the group’s journey to become the global leader in travel and expense management.

Global workforce support 

Navan remained agile and responsive to its customers' changing needs after the pandemic. In 2021, Navan demonstrated this foresight by introducing personal, team, and VIP travel services — each of which answered common customer requests, from getting remote teams together more frequently to leveraging travel to reward employees for their hard work. These unique offerings cemented Navan's reputation as a forward-thinking and customer-centric organisation.

Securing enterprise customers

Navan secured major enterprise wins with clients like Heineken and Adobe, solidifying its position as a trusted partner for businesses of all sizes. As a result of the launch of Navan Enterprise Edition in September 2020, CFOs and travel leaders no longer had to compromise between cost control and traveller safety. They could boost traveller satisfaction and productivity, drive safety and compliance, and make their travel and expense programmes efficient and cost-effective with modern enterprise travel and expense management. In the latest G2 rankings, Navan ranked  No. 1 across all five travel and expense software categories in which it is ranked for the Enterprise segment.

Learn how other enterprise businesses including Zoom, Asana, and Paysafe leverage Navan for their travel and expense management.

On February 7, 2023, TripActions officially rebranded as Navan, which helped move the company forward as an integrated solution for both travel and expense, Under this new banner, we introduced Ava, becoming the first travel company to integrate generative artificial intelligence (AI) across its infrastructure and product feature set. 

By harnessing the power of generative AI, Navan: 

  • Unlocked new possibilities for personalisation and efficiency
  • Empowered travellers with intelligent solutions that anticipate their needs and preferences
  • Provided travel admins, finance managers, and CFOs with real-time analysis

Ava could now serve as a personal data analyst that slices and dices real-time spend data, provides insights into travel and expense questions, and proactively finds opportunities for savings.

Technical innovation for tomorrow

If reimagining business travel management, leading two industries towards innovation, and fostering a global workforce was not enough, Navan changed the game again in 2023 with the introduction of Navan Connect. This innovative card-link technology brings the magic of Navan Expense to companies with any enrolled corporate Mastercard® or Visa® card. 

Companies can now keep their existing institutional corporate cards and banking relationships, as well as the benefits that come with them, while also accessing a world of real-time control, spend visibility, and automated expense reports previously only available with Navan cards.

This “Bring Your Own Card” (BYOC) technology became available in Europe and the UK in November 2023, extending its reach to ten different currencies and more than 40 UK and EU banks for a total of nearly 250 global banks.

Since its launch, Navan Connect has started to power a new generation of partnerships. For example, Navan and Citi, the third-largest U.S. bank, leveraged the innovative card-link technology of Navan Connect to create a jointly branded travel and expense system designed for Citi Commercial Bank cardholders last month.

This is the industry’s first complete end-to-end corporate travel and expense management collaboration of this scale and hints at the possibilities now available wherever this technology is deployed.

By continually leveraging cutting-edge technologies, whether it’s AI or New Distribution Capability (NDC) in the travel world, or automated expenses and “Bring Your Own Card” technology in expense management, Navan pushes the boundaries of what’s considered possible from technology and business perspectives. 

Embracing the future 

Looking ahead to the next chapter, Navan is poised for continued growth and innovation under our tenured and new leaders, with exciting new partnerships on the horizon and a commitment to drive efficiencies for our customers.

Just before Navan’s birthday, CEO Ariel Cohen announced the addition of respected financial leader Amy Butte to the Navan Board of Directors as audit chair and the exciting return of former chief revenue officer Rich Liu, who will now be stepping into the role of CEO of Travel.

Join us as we celebrate a decade of disruption and anticipate the groundbreaking developments yet to come in the world of travel and expense management with Navan.

Demo Navan today, and see how the past nine years have changed the world.

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