20VC: The Memo: Why Salesforce, SAP and Concur Will Die | Scaling 3x and Raising at a $9.2BN Valuation in COVID | How OpenAI is Changing the Travel Industry Forever | Never Before Revealed Margins on Travel and Expense Management with Ariel Cohen, Co-Founder & CEO

Posted on 8th February 2023 by Harry

Ariel Cohen is the Co-Founder and CEO @ 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 streamOnce, a business multimedia integration platform that was successfully acquired by Jive Software, where Ariel had previously served in a senior position following his time at Hewlett-Packard.

In Today’s Episode with Ariel Cohen We Discuss:

1.) Why Education is Outdated and Wisdom to People Entering the Working World:

  • Why did Ariel not really attend many classes when he was a student?
  • What would be his biggest advice to young people leaving school today? Where would he focus?
  • Why does Ariel believe that traditional education is more outdated now than ever before?

2.) Why SAP and Salesforce Will Die:

  • Why does Ariel believe that SAP and Salesforce have not innovated for a decade?
  • Why does Ariel believe that Slack is a disaster inside of Salesforce?
  • What are the single biggest advantages that startups have over these large incumbents?
  • What can startups do to retain innovation and speed as they scale into becoming an incumbent?
  • Why are the best founders willing to kill their own projects?

3.) Growing a Business 3x and Raising at a $9.2BN Valuation in COVID:

  • How did Ariel grow the business 3x with all travel being banned?
  • What were the tactics to blitz scaling during COVID?
  • How did Ariel approach his investors for a new round in the middle of COVID? How did he get such a high price in the midst of a global pandemic?
  • What is the bull case for how Navan can be a $40BN company?

4.) Margins Matter: Gaining Leverage Through Additional Margin:

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

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