AI Comes to Expense Reports • TechCrunch

Welcome to The Exchange! If you got this in your inbox, thanks for subscribing and your vote of confidence. If you are reading this as a post on our website, please subscribe here so that you can receive it directly in the future. Every week, I’ll take a look at the hottest fintech news from the previous week. This will include everything from funding rounds to trends to an analysis of a specific space and a specific company or phenomenon. There’s a lot of fintech news out there, and it’s my job to stay on top of it — and make sense of it — so that you stay in the know. — mary ann

Hello and welcome back. We finally got our energy back after the ice storm and I’m feeling better after catching a cold – but as I’m not yet operating at full capacity, this bulletin will be a bit abbreviated.

Rebrands are not uncommon in the startup world, and the fintech space is no exception. They are particularly more prevalent when companies pivot to adapt to external circumstances. Last week, TripActions announced that it was changing brands and is now called Navan.

I, for one, was not at all surprised by the news, as TripActions went from being a travel expense management company to a corporate card and expense management for general businesses in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. in March 2020. In 2021, CEO and co-founder Ariel Cohen told me that its revenue didn’t just drop — it hit rock bottom. . . to zero. That’s when execs decided to focus their efforts on their then-new Liquid offering, which seems to have worked really well for the company. In October, amid its continued growth, the company raised $154 million in equity at a post-money valuation of $9.2 billion, up from its previous valuation of $7.5 billion, as well as a deal of Coatue’s $150 million structured finance loan. Then, in December, it secured $400 million in credit lines from Goldman Sachs and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).

Its rebrand is more than just a name change, apparently. The company said it has now unified its travel, corporate and expense offerings into “a single super app”. Furthermore, Navan – a combination of to browse It is avant (or forward) – Claims to be the first travel company to integrate the OpenAI and ChatGPT APIs into its infrastructure and product suite.

The company says it is currently using generative AI technology to write, test and fix code with the aim of increasing its operational efficiency and reducing overhead. Now, through Ava—Navan’s virtual assistant—travel managers can personalize recommendations and increase traveler engagement, executives say. They also say administrators can use the tool as a personal assistant to perform tasks such as performing custom data analysis, providing granular carbon footprint details or ordering corporate cards for their company. Meanwhile, travelers can do things like research travel, resolve customer support issues, and even recommend an Indian restaurant near their London hotel, for example.

A company spokesperson told me via email: “Program administrators will be able to ask Ava for reports on travel and spending programs, either by text, graphic, PDF, etc. reports to automate itemization — and in the case of hotel folios, we instantly fetch them from the hotel after a stay, categorize line items, check them against company policy, and send them to the user, so there’s no need to they (to) move pennies to balance a folio – a process that is quite painful in my experience.”

Personally, we’ve been wondering when generative AI would impact the fintech space, so I’m intrigued by this move on TripAction’s part – I mean Navan.

But I should point out that Navan wasn’t the only company in the financial services space that announced it was incorporating AI into its products.

Last week, Sarah Perez of TechCrunch reported that Microsoft and American Express announced they were teaming up to put AI to work “to help with the frustrating and labor-intensive task of filing and auditing corporate expense reports.” She wrote: “The companies have agreed to expand their decades-long partnership to create solutions that leverage Microsoft Cloud and AI technologies, starting with managing expense reports. According to Amex, the initial solution will leverage machine learning and AI to automate expense reporting and approvals.” Notably though, Amex says the AI ​​is something it built in-house – it’s not leveraging Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI, but is using the Microsoft Cloud. You can read more about this deal here.

Fascinating! Hopefully, we’ll only hear more about AI’s incorporation into the world of financial services.

More layoffs

Last week, Claim announced that it was reducing its staff by 19% and closing its crypto unit. It also missed analysts’ estimates of its revenue and earnings. All of this news led to a sharp drop in his stock price. It’s more evidence that buy now, pay later, as space is at a premium. I plan to get into more of that next week, so stay tuned.

I like it also cut jobs – laying off 126 people last week. Last May, TechCrunch reported that the HR tech unicorn, which was worth nearly $10 billion at the time, raised an extension to its 2021-era Series E funding round. in primary capital, a portion of secondary shares and a public offering.

Ironically, explains TC’s Natasha Mascarenhas, at the end of last month, Gusto’s editor-in-chief wrote on the subject of layoffs – and the positive side for small companies looking for talent.

“Call me cynical, but in the end, a great company will always choose itself over dozens of employees. It’s just the nature of the beast. Small businesses need to use this fact to their advantage.”

TechCrunch reached out to Gusto for comment and was told the cuts represented around 5% of the workforce. A spokesperson also told me: “All employees have been notified via email. Affected employees also received a text indicating the email.” One official, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the move came as a surprise as the company claims to be in “stable financial condition”. The same employee cited a toxic work culture, a sentiment echoed by some Blind users.

weekly news

According to Axios:robinhood announced that it plans to buy back Emergent Fidelity Technologies shares from Sam Bankman-Fried. That particular Robinhood bet is currently in legal hell following the FTX implosion. Robinhood’s board has authorized the purchase of “most or all” of the 55 million shares Emergent Fidelity Technologies acquired last year, the company said in its earnings report on Wednesday. Emergent Fidelity Technologies was formed to buy 7.6% of Robinhood in early 2022. Now, however, the stake is being fought over by a number of players. There. I’m pretty sure Robinhood didn’t foresee this by dropping these shares.

safe pie, which provides workers’ compensation insurance to small businesses, announced that it has completed its transition to a “rated full-stack carrier”. Pie will begin issuing its own insurance policies later this year following the recent acquisition of a nationally licensed insurance company (formerly American Insurance Company), now renamed Pie Insurance Company. We last covered Pie in September when it raised $315 million in Series D. Pie has also expanded into commercial auto insurance as Ford Motor Credit Company’s MGA through the launch of Ford Pro Insure.

From Manish Singh: “Fintech Kissht It is PayU’s LazyPay is among the apps that India’s Ministry of IT has blocked in the ongoing crackdown, as New Delhi moves to curb misuse of consumer data and protect the country’s integrity.” More here.

from PayPal stock rose once more. The company announced during its fourth-quarter earnings announcement that longtime CEO Dan Schulman plans to retire at the end of the year. But his earnings beat analysts’ estimates. Last week, we wrote about the company’s plans to lay off 2,000 employees.

In July 2022, Brazilian fintech alternative bank launched novücard, a credit card in Brazil with a “dynamic” credit limit, with the possibility of having the limit automatically adjusted up and down based on usage and payment term. A company spokesperson told me that since that launch, novücard has grown to 150,000 new customers, “making it the fastest-growing credit card in Brazil.” She added: “Up to 3,000 new customers a day are getting a new novücard. The company expects that number to grow, driven primarily by word of mouth – and for the number of customers to increase to 2 million by the end of 2023.” Founded by American Brad Liebmann, fintech has 130 employees based mainly in São Paulo and São Carlos. The company raised $5.5 million in seed funding in May 2021.

Financing and M&A

Ex-CTO of Gemini launches Fierce, a high-yield financial super-application

New social investment platform Follow influencers to mirror their investment strategies

SUMA Wealth acquires Reel to close the US wealth gap. Christine covered it last year:

Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia backs cross-border payments startup Tazapay

Investment platform Moonfare caps Series C extension at $15 million

That’s it for this week. Thanks again for sticking with me, and I hope to be back with you full speed ahead next week. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! Kisses, Mary Ann

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