WorldMate mobile trip manager sells to Carlson Wagonlit
Neither organisation will confirm the deal but it is anticipated that the acquisition will be announced in the coming days or early next week, with a price somewhere in the region of $20 million being paid for the San Francisco-based company.
The company currently has around 25 employees located in the US and at a technical hub in Tel Aviv, Israel. It is privately funded with investors including Motorola Ventures and the BlackBerry Partners Fund.
The sale will end a 12-year (yes, 12 years in mobile travel) run for the company after it was originally launched by founder Nadav Gur in June 2000 under the MobiMate name, with WorldMate becoming the primary product.
A new management team under current CEO and the appropriately named Jean Tripier was formed over the course of 2010 and 2011, with the name MobiMate slowly dropped from all branding and marketing and Gur leaving the company.
The company also amassed a string of big names to its advisory board over the years, including Mony Hassid (MD of Motorola Mobility Ventures) and Brent Hoberman (founder and CEO of Lastminute.com).
For much of its history, Worldmate’s leading source of income was subscription revenue. But the company said in July this year that booking commissions and its white label/API licensing business were growing rapidly.
On the marketing front, WorldMate also said it spends nothing on acquiring customers and growth is on the strength of its distribution partnerships and word of mouth, especially among high-spending business travelers.
The sale, however, signifies once again how so-called traditional business travel management platforms such as CWT are reaching out to third party providers for expertise and technology.
Trip planning service TripIt sold to Concur in January 2011, in a deal reported at the time to be worth up to $120 million after an initial outlay of $82 million in cash and stock.
Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.