element. why did we start it?

30 Apr 2020 08:35 Comment(s) By Gavin Smith

Background of element, six months in

element, why did we start it?

 

element. is six months old this month. As with all things related to starting your own business, there are many clich√©'s I could use to describe what its been like. I won't as we have had fun, exploring what we can do, how we can do it and should we do it. 

 

Back in 2017, I was working for SAP Concur managing TMC partners. I would get a few requests a month from TMCs wanting to be a partner. Due to guidelines in place I was not able to fulfil these TMCs needs. Not all exchanges ended politely, I can tell you.. 

 

As we were part of SAP, we got exposed to their various channels. VAR was an acronym that came up very often. I did some digging to understand what they were talking about. It turned out that a VAR was a long standing sales channel used by SAP and thousands of tech companies across the world. 

 

VAR stands for Value Added Reseller. Tech companies have used this sales channel to sell their products for years. VARs make sense for tech companies, the upfront cost is low, VARs have existing relationships and the model has scale. Travel Management Companies (TMCs) are the only indirect sales channel with our industry. 

 

TMCs have been rewarding for tech companies. What has changed is the increase in demand from SME TMCs for tech. During our research, we discovered that SME TMCs struggle to get access to tech. The barriers to entry had increased. Could we do something about this?

 

In short, yes. Our purpose at element. is to supply TMCs with tech and support. Lizzie and I have lived through the support of tech providers, and knew this should be one of the key benefits of the business. 

 

We have built up our tech stack and service products for SME TMCs. Keeping our focus on this segment will ensure we deliver on our promises. Our clients will get what we say they will get, with the end purpose being to help TMCs run better business with technology. 


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