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Navan not far from IPO, on track to achieve profitability in 2024, says CEO

Ariel Cohen, CEO of TripActions

Travel Actions

The head of travel and expense management platform Navan told CNBC he is preparing the company to get its business in shape for a possible IPO this year, a further sign that executives at Private startups are increasingly optimistic about their prospects in the public markets. .

Asked when Navan would choose to go public, the company’s CEO and co-founder Ariel Cohen said the company was close to reaching that milestone. “We can see the signals,” he said, adding that Navan had adjusted its leadership structure and made changes to its board, a sign of maturity.

Last month, Navan announced the return of Rich Liu, formerly Navan’s chief revenue officer and “an expert in growing businesses from seed to IPO and beyond,” as CEO of Navan Travel, the company’s travel division.

Amy Butte, the former chief financial officer of the New York Stock Exchange who oversaw the U.S. stock exchange operator’s transition to a public company in 2006, was also named to Navan’s board as chair of the committee. ‘audit.

“I don’t want to give a date,” Cohen told CNBC, adding that he hadn’t even told his own family when he expected Navan to go public — let alone his advice administration and its employees. “At the end of the day, there are things that are beyond my control.”

“The market can collapse. There are elections in the United States. There are wars. So I never promise anything to people if I don’t know that the delivery is under my control,” he said. he adds.

While Cohen wouldn’t commit to a date for Navan’s possible IPO, he said the company is “not far off” from being ready for an IPO. The company is on track to become cash flow positive and reach profitability for the first time this year, he said.

“The timetable will have to include several elements,” he said. “Today, in this market, to be public, you have to be profitable. We are not far from it, but we are not there. We are going to be there this year. And it is not easy to do so. do while you “I’m growing up fast.”

Cohen said he also keeps a watchful eye on the market – but added that while previously investors would have viewed a company like his as dependent on dynamic market sentiment around technology, today he sees the company as “mature enough” to become an independent public company. of the market context.

Navan CEO Ariel Cohen talks partnership with Citi

Navan is now averaging around 40% revenue growth, according to Cohen, with the company’s fintech business growing faster (100%) than its travel business (30%).

Founded in 2015 as TripActions, Navan began life as a travel management platform for businesses, seeking to provide a smoother experience for travel agents and incumbents like American ExpressBCD Voyages, and SAP All right. The company includes personalities like Unilever and Christie’s as clients.

The company then expanded into the spending and payments space with solutions to automate the linking of credit cards to a single platform and automate spending.

Navan is backed by major investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Coatue, Goldman Sachs and Lightspeed. Navan has raised over $1.5 billion in venture capital to date and its last valuation was $9.2 billion. It competes with Spanish startup TravelPerk, recently valued at $1.4 billion.

Navan introduced a big evolution of this product last year with the arrival of Navan Connect, a new spending product.

Most corporate card startups, like Brex and Ramp, offer users their own corporate smart cards. But Navan’s Connect functionality, rolled out in partnership with Citi, allows businesses to offer automated expense management and reconciliation without having to change corporate card providers.

Like other technology companies, Navan has invested heavily in artificial intelligence. The company rolled out its own AI personal assistant last year, called Ava. The tool uses generative AI to help travelers, travel administrators and financial managers plan and budget their trips effectively.

Ava – which stands for automated virtual assistant – now processes around 150,000 monthly chats, with more than 35% completed by April 2024, according to Navan.

Cohen said Navan plans to roll out an even more personalized version of Ava’s AI assistant, which can generate travel plans for someone based on their past behavior, with even greater accuracy in six months.

Navan was named to the 2024 edition of CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list.


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