October 2016: Roomex

Fast Company of the Month | Wed 2 Nov | Author – Business & Finance roomex
Jack Donaghy, CEO, Roomex

Accelerated growth is on the horizon for Roomex with €3.5m in Series A funding secured.

Irish hotel booking firm Roomex began life in 2004 catering to leisure travellers. The company started with 300 hotels, all in Ireland and grew gradually until 2012 when they pivoted into the corporate travel space, securing the Central Bank of Ireland as their first corporate client, quickly followed by Musgraves.

The quick sign up of major corporate clients helped shape the backend of the business, including administrative requirements such as reporting and billing that have been critical differentiators for them in the corporate space.

This fundamental change in focus has seen the firm grow quickly from a staff of eight people at the end of 2013 to 33 currently, with recruitment already underway to take on a further 20 people.

They have achieved bookings growth of almost 100% year on year since 2013, underlining the success of their business decision to move into the corporate space.

The company now boasts 550,000 hotels on its platform, servicing clients – including AIB, Musgrave Group, Allianz, Kepak, Sisk Group and Dairygold – from their offices in Dublin and London. They credit the attractive and easy to use interface, which they had developed as a consumer-focused business, with helping them stand out in the corporate market, where booking tools frequently are often clunky, lacking the UI and UX design input startups intuitively focus on.   

DUTY OF CARE

Apart from benefits to users such as faster booking and single invoicing, the platforms makes it easier for businesses to fufill their ‘duty of care’ requirements, knowing where staff are on business trips, especially useful in areas where security issues may arise.

In business travel, we have found an area that we believe in and can really get behind and serve well

Co-founder and CEO Jack Donaghy says, “The journey is only starting to be honest, we’re only looking ahead and our latest funding round will help us to get to the next point quicker, but we’ve a long way to go. In business travel, we have found an area that we believe in and can really get behind and serve well. Our clients love the Roomex platform – they’re saving money, they’re saving time, we bring them process, they have live reporting, benchmarking, duty of care and a lot more – and it’s free!”

GOING FOR GROWTH

Donaghy and co-founder Karl Glennon now run the business as CEO and CTO respectively. Their financial growth targets for the coming years are ambitious but based on past performance, not unfounded. Their stated goal is to have 2,000 corporate clients, equating to €200m in revenue by 2019.

They have just secured €3.5m in a Series A round of funding; investors include Irish venture capital firm Frontline Ventures, former Hostelworld chairman Paddy Holahan and the CTO of CarTrawler, Bobby Healy. The Series A capital will be used to accelerate growth through increased sales and marketing as well as further developing the technology platform.

Everyone works hard at Roomex, but it’s a great team, all pushing in the same direction, it’s very satisfying for them to see things growing fast

Shay Garvey, partner of Frontline Ventures, said, “Frontline is delighted to back Roomex – Jack and Karl as founders have created a great team that is executing a fast growth disruptive strategy in a very large market.  We believe they are building a very valuable company and we are happy to assist them in any way we can.”

Outlining future plans Donaghy says, “We hope to continue our growth in Ireland and the UK as well as look at new markets. And we’ve some really exciting things happening on our technology platform, all based around making life easier for corporate travel bookers and the business traveller!” He continues: “Seeing new companies every day, in many different countries, starting to make hotel bookings seamlessly through the platform is great – these clients being thrilled with Roomex is just brilliant. Everyone works hard at Roomex, but it’s a great team, all pushing in the same direction, it’s very satisfying for them to see things growing fast.” 

Business & Finance, Fast Company of the Month

eir fast company buttonWith a spotlight on innovation, international scalability, differentiation and strategic investment to the Irish economy, Business & Finance – in association with eir – recognises the growth and ingenuity of the fastest growing businesses across Ireland.