Tradeshift has launched a payments and travel booking virtual assistant that uses voice recognition to manage ordering, payments and risk.
With Tradeshift Go, employees can ask the assistant for approval to buy work-related products or travel and then pay for them with a virtual credit card, which gets billed against an existing corporate credit card. That way, the employee never sees the corporate credit card number, which is designed to lower credit card risk.
Designed primarily for mid-sized businesses, the Go assistant can also act as a travel agent for work-related travel, finding and suggesting flights, rental cars, and other details through the chat interface. That function follows the company’s recent acquisition of Hyper Travel, a chat-based travel assistant app. Tradeshift plans to expand the skillset to also include legal, logistical and consulting tasks.
The San Francisco-based Tradeshift uses cloud delivered technology to connect different parties in business payments. It just attracted new investment from American Express Ventures and HSBC.
Sarika Garg, general manager of Tradeshift, likened the product to Amazon’s Alexa. Christopher Sawchuk, principal global procurement advisory practice leader at The Hackett Group, said it fills a generational need for a “more natural” and easier way to manage the business.
“We are seeing a new generation of expectations from employees on the ease of buying goods and services,” Sawchuk said. “Enhanced visibility into spend is much needed in the mid-market while larger companies strive to gain a better understanding and influence over more spend.”
Go was also built to mitigate credit card fraud, shorten reconciliation and trim settlement times that have long burdened mid-sized business operations. The product is accessible through a browser, mobile app and email and includes a dashboard that tracks transaction data and flags suspicious payments.