20VC: The Memo: Why Salesforce, SAP and Concur Will Die | 3x Scaling in COVID and Raised to $9.2BN Valuation | How OpenAI is changing the travel industry forever Never-before-disclosed margin on travel and expense management with Ariel Cohen, Co-Founder & CEO – 20VC

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Posted by Harry on February 8th 2023

Ariel Cohen is the Co-Founder & CEO of @Navan (formerly TripActions), the #1 travel management super-app used by over 8,000 companies. Ariel has raised over $2BN for Navan from some of the best including a16z, Zeev Ventures, Lightspeed, Greenoaks, and Elad Gil. Prior to TripActions, Ariel co-founded StreamOnes, a business multimedia integration platform that was successfully acquired by Jive Software, where Ariel held a senior position following his time at Hewlett-Packard.

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In today’s episode with Ariel Cohen we discuss:

1.) Why education is out of date and wisdom for people entering the working world:

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Why didn’t Ariel actually attend many classes when she was a student? What would be her biggest advice for young school dropouts today? Where will he focus? Why does Ariel believe that traditional education is out of date now more than ever?

2.) Why SAP and Salesforce will die:

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Why does Ariel believe SAP and Salesforce haven’t innovated for a decade? Why does Ariel believe Slack is a disaster inside Salesforce? What are the biggest advantages startups have over these incumbents? What can startups do to maintain innovation and momentum as they scale into becoming an incumbent? Why are the best founders willing to ditch their projects?

3.) Scaling the business 3X and raising a valuation of $9.2BN in COVID:

How did Ariel triple business with all travel banned? What was the strategy to expand rapidly during Covid? How did Ariel approach its investors for a fresh round in the midst of Covid? How did they get such a high price in the midst of a global pandemic? What’s The Bull Case For How Navan Could Be A $40 Billion Company?

4.) Margin matters: Achieving leverage through additional margin:

With Navan’s 80% margin, they have 30% more margin than other competitors, how do they have such a high margin? With the additional 30%, how does Ariel plan to expand Navan’s reach and use the margin to do so? How does OpenAI play a role in helping Navan increase its margins even further?

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