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Amex Ventures Joins Spotnana on Mission to Unbundle Travel

October 25, 2021
By Andrew Sheivachman
Categories Innovation,News

Spotnana is on a mission to fix the travel industry by building travel’s first open innovation platform. A better ecosystem for travel, however, can only be created in partnership with leaders across the world.

We’re excited to announce that Amex Ventures has joined Madrona Venture Group, ICONIQ, and others in Spotnana’s $34 million Series A funding round that was previously announced in September.

At Spotnana, one of our core values is our obsession with customer needs. Perhaps no company in the world embodies this more than American Express, which has made customer experience core to its business for more than a century.

American Express, of course, has travel in its DNA as well.

“Travel has been part of our core DNA going all the way back to the beginning of the last century,” said Harshul Sanghi, Global Head of Amex Ventures. “Providing travel services to our Card Members in multiple ways is something that we are very proud of and that differentiates us in a powerful way.”

Spotnana took a few minutes to discuss the investment with Sanghi and learn more about American Express’ customer-first vision of the travel experience.

Harshul Sanghi, Global Head of Amex Ventures

Harshul Sanghi, Global Head of Amex Ventures.

How does American Express view the changing landscape of global travel?

We look at travel from a 360-degree perspective. We service the entire lifecycle of travel from ideation to planning to booking, and then of course, the journey itself. We can all agree, especially in the last 18 months with Covid, that travel is changing, and some elements will continue to morph as we go forward.

What made you decide to partner with the Spotnana team?

When we first spoke with Sarosh and the team, we were excited about how they are reimagining and rethinking multiple elements of the technology stack of travel planning and booking. Given how core travel is to our business, it was an easy decision to support Spotana in its growth and innovation going forward.

Travel is a complex ecosystem with multiple partners and that makes the economic challenge even more complex. With every generation of software technology, there is an opportunity to improve on the current stack. That is what’s so exciting about what Sarosh and the Spotnana team are doing.

What part of Spotnana’s technology vision was most compelling?

When you look at Spotnana’s technology, specifically looking at having a unified data stack, we think there are both horizontal, as well as vertical, use cases where that data stack can be leveraged. As Spotnana launches, we look forward to staying close to help the team bring those use cases to life.

Why do you think travel has lagged behind other sectors in terms of creating a customer-centric experience?

It’s not because of the lack of technology that has been available. It’s because of the complex ecosystem. The challenge and the opportunity is in simplifying that technology stack and also providing access to the data in broader and more easily consumable ways that can be utilized to improve the customer experience.

How does Spotnana fit into American Express’ wider portfolio of travel investments?

When you think about our investment in and then eventual acquisition of Mezi, that was certainly on the front-end interaction side, in an effort to make the user experience of booking travel a lot easier by adding in an additional channel. Mezi has proven to be successful with our customers and is deployed as part of Ask Amex across the portfolio.

We have our investment in Boom, which is focused on the actual experience of getting from point A to point B, but in a much faster and environmentally friendly manner.

Then, we have the experience side, with products like Fine Hotels & Resorts and the Global Dining Collection with our acquisition of Resy, among other things.

What all these investments, including Spotnana, have in common is that they make the travel experience better and easier, so we can provide peace of mind and the world class customer experience for which Amex is known.