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After COVID-19 layoffs, this travel start-up is hiring!

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US corporate travel startup TripActions on Thursday said it raised $155 million at a valuation of $5 billion, after a sharp downturn in business due to the coronavirus pandemic last year forced it to lay off a quarter of its staff.

The company now has 750 employees and is looking to double that over the next year, said co-founder and chief executive Ariel Cohen.

Cohen said its travel budget under management – the amount of travel companies book through TripActions – is expected to hit $3.6 billion by the end of January from $2.1 billion a year ago. In March and April that dropped to nearly zero, said Cohen.

Businesses are only spending about 20% of their normal travel budget but Cohen said TripActions had signed up new customers, including Netflix and electric truck maker Rivian. Cohen said TripActions, which competes with American Express Global Business Travel and Concur Travel, now had around 4,000 corporate customers, having added 700 since the pandemic.

Last year the company also launched a credit card called Liquid and built an expenses platform that makes it possible for employees to never file an expense report again, said Cohen.

The latest round was co-led by existing investor Andreessen Horowitz.

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