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Podcast: Brex’s Karandeep Anand on the evolution of Brex Travel

June 06, 2024
By Andrew Sheivachman
Categories Innovation

Brex has built a strong brand as an expense management platform serving the needs of fast-growing companies. With the introduction of Brex Travel last year, powered by Spotnana, Brex has found success providing seamless travel inside its product suite.

For the third episode of The Travel Is a Human Emotion podcast, Spotnana VP of Marketing Justin Schuster spoke with Karandeep Anand, President and Chief Product Officer for Brex, about the evolution of Brex Travel and the opportunities for providing better experiences to travelers.

Anand discussed three key areas where Brex’s partnership with Spotnana is redefining business travel in 2024.


Shared vision and values

Brex Travel launched in early 2023 with the goal of providing seamless, integrated travel services to Brex’s customers.

“We are celebrating the first anniversary of Brex Travel, and I can share a lot of success around the logos we’ve won, the very demanding customers we’re serving, and how commercially it’s been a successful thing,” said Anand. “But for me, personally, the biggest achievement of this partnership has been that we’ve changed industry expectations of what integrated travel, expense, and card can actually look like.”

Anand highlighted the shared vision and values between Brex and Spotnana as key to the success of the partnership. The two companies have built a deep integration that delivers travel benefits like access to NDC content and full self-service capabilities for travelers inside Brex’s spend management tools along with automated expense report submission and reconciliation.

“It’s a great partnership,” said Anand. “It goes back to the very fundamental vision, which is why we picked Spotnana. Spotnana aims to be the travel platform, not the travel product. There’s a huge difference in a small statement. Platform companies are built fundamentally differently.”

Spotnana’s APIs were crucial for Brex to create the integrated travel product it envisioned without spending years building its own solution.

“Usually the trade off is that you either build something yourself, and it’s deeply integrated and feels like a single product, or you partner, and it looks like a bolted-on product,” said Anand. “One of the values we have at Brex is we want to break the trade off. That’s the reason why we decided to pick Spotnana. You have a very API-first approach of providing travel technology versus just saying ‘here’s my website, link to it.’ We wanted a fully, deeply-integrated [technology] stack.”

Industry disruption

Brex’s disruptive approach to spend management simplifies the most complex expense workflows and tasks for its customers. By automatically collecting receipts and spending data for travel, the expense process is eliminated for travelers and automated for administrators.

Brex is delivering a seamless, integrated solution with its modern, mobile-first experience built on top of Spotnana’s platform.

“Right from when you swipe the credit card and all the way to when it gets approved and correctly classified, your accounting team never has to deal with it unless it’s an exception,” said Anand.

“That magical vertical experience is where the spend management industry overall is headed to. It’s almost a no brainer at this point. Why would you have three completely disconnected systems that don’t talk to each other and have a horrible experience for employees as the default?”

Spotnana’s commitment to transparency and unbiased content has helped Brex Travel win deals against competitors in a crowded market.

“I really believe in Spotnana’s approach to travel as a platform, with the promise of access to the best fares anyone ever will have,” said Anand. “I’m really glad that when we run into competition, we almost always win because the minute you can explain that we are serving travelers and not any of the [industry] intermediaries, it becomes a very straightforward sales process.”

Future innovation and AI

Anand is excited about the future innovations Brex Travel can bring to customers through its partnership with Spotnana. Brex Travel receives constant updates and improvements from Spotnana’s rapid pace of innovation.

He highlighted the potential for AI and machine learning to further simplify travel and spend management over the next few years. Brex AI is currently available as an assistant that helps simplify the expense process for employees and administrators.

“Ultimately, AI is going to be the sum of magical moments compounded over time and we’re looking at how AI should genuinely be an assistant to make things happen faster and easier,” said Anand. “I’m very excited about what it does as a simple example for the employees. What it can do for finance teams is a thousand times more powerful, because they’re dealing with hundreds of thousands of expenses that they have to go through manually to classify, reclassify, and annotate. All that is gone with AI.”

To hear the full podcast, you can view the video here or subscribe to the Travel is a Human Emotion podcast on your preferred podcast service.