NEW YORK – November 7, 2014 – Rocketrip, the first commercially available platform that rewards employees for saving money on business travel, announced the hiring of two new executives. Kevin O’Neill, formerly at Destiny Solutions, joins Rocketrip as VP of Engineering, and Emily Hurd, previously at H.Bloom, will serve as VP of Business Development. In addition, Gillian Tee, co-founder of Rocketrip, will transition from her role as Head of Product and Technology to Chief Product Officer.
Rocketrip’s software uses patented algorithms to predict what a business trip should cost and creates personalized budgets for employees. Travelers earn rewards for beating their budget, and the more they save, the bigger the reward. For instance, an employee who saves $200 on travel would earn enough reward points for $100 worth of merchandise from well-known retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Bloomingdales and J Crew. By motivating employees to travel cost-consciously, Rocketrip helps companies save upwards of 20% on travel expenses.
Since January 2014, Rocketrip has tripled its customer base, welcoming clients such as Airpush, Opower, Optimizely and Zendesk. To meet increasing demand for Rocketrip, the company brought on Kevin O’Neill and Emily Hurd to accelerate software development, expand partnerships and allow co-founder Gillian Tee to focus on product development full-time in her new role as Chief Product Officer.
“Rocketrip has made it a win for employees to save on business travel, and we’ve brought aboard outstanding leaders who will help us continue to provide customers with the best experience possible,” said Daniel Ruch, co-founder and CEO of Rocketrip. “Kevin brings the engineering talent and leadership we need to push our software to the next level, and Emily has a remarkable track record of building partnerships and scaling businesses. We’re truly excited to have them.”
Kevin O’Neill joins Rocketrip with over 10 years of engineering and management experience. In his previous role at Destiny Solutions, O’Neill oversaw product development for the company’s education management software. Prior to joining Destiny Solutions, O’Neill held senior positions at Infor, the world’s third largest provider of enterprise applications and services, and Workbrain, a startup that was acquired by Infor. A certified Scrum and Agile practitioner, O’Neill graduated with honors from the University of Toronto with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.
“Rocketrip is trying to solve a big, nasty problem that no one else is trying to solve,” said O’Neill. “Joining Rocketrip was an opportunity to take on this unique challenge and build a rock star engineering team that will be passionate about tackling this issue for years to come.”
An entrepreneur and experienced road warrior, Emily Hurd will spearhead B2B partnerships for Rocketrip. In her previous role as VP of Business Development at H.Bloom, a subscription flower delivery service, Emily expanded partnerships and operations to 16 cities. Before joining H.Bloom, Emily founded and eventually sold Baking for Good, an online bakery service that worked with over 200 nonprofits and well-known companies including Google, Facebook, Time Warner and JetBlue. Hurd served as a management consultant at Katzenbach Partners for three years before launching Baking for Good. She graduated from Harvard College with high honors in Social Studies.
“As a management consultant who traveled nearly every week for three years, I learned how plans, points and rewards can become central to a business traveler’s life,” said Hurd. “I became fascinated by loyalty programs, but I also saw how misaligned incentives were causing companies to incur additional costs. The idea that Rocketrip can help companies reduce travel costs while maintaining employee control and fostering loyalty is a no-brainer, and it is something I am proud to be a part of.”