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Venture Capitalist Steve Singh and Growth Investors Acquire Direct Travel

Venture capitalist Steve Singh and a group of growth investors have acquired corporate travel management firm Direct Travel.

The investors joining Singh in the acquisition include Durable Capital PartnersMadrona VenturesTop Tier Capital Partners and Blackstone Credit & Insurance, Direct Travel said in a Tuesday (April 2) press release.

“Direct Travel sets the bar for customer experience,” Singh said in the release. “We are delighted to invest in and partner deeply with what we believe will be the market leading travel management company.”

As part of the acquisition, Ed Adams, who founded Direct Travel in 2011 and served as its CEO, plans to retire, according to the release. He has been succeeded by newly appointed CEO Christal Belmont, who was formerly CEO of Talend.

Both Singh and Belmont have extensive travel industry experience, the release said. Singh founded travel and expense management company Concur, and Belmont spent over 15 years at Concur and SAP Concur.

Direct Travel serves more than 4,500 mid-market and enterprise clients, per the release. The company has integrated its own artificial intelligence (AI) innovations around client experience with a travel technology stack that includes travel-as-a-service platform Spotnana, card-first expense management platform Center, and group meetings and events platform Troop.

“Together with our technology partners and extensive supplier network, we will continue to invest in proprietary around user experience and dynamic client services, all of which we plan to make available as a service to other travel management companies,” Belmont said in the release.

In another recent acquisition in this space, American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT) said March 25 that it agreed to buy global business travel and meetings solutions provider CWT for $570 million.

“Bringing CWT onto the proven Amex GBT software and services model will create more choice for customers, more opportunities for people and more value for shareholders,” Amex GBT CEO Paul Abbott said when announcing the deal.

On March 11, Amadeus announced that it acquired Voxel, a B2B payments solution provider for the travel sector. This purchase added Voxel’s eInvoicing and B2B payments tools to the Amadeus portfolio, while helping corporate customers by further automating aspects of the business travel experience.