< PrevNext > Bob Neveu, Certify CEO Concur's Challenger By JoAnn DeLuna / December 14, 2017 / Contact Reporter Share Certify has joined the exclusive league of large suppliers like Deem and KDS that provide truly integrated T&E solutions. That owes to Certify's acquisition of NuTravel's online booking tool, following Certify's June merger with three expense firms. The expense companies' combined client base paired with an in-house online booking tool positions Certify to compete with the leader in the space, Concur. "It's always important that the No.1 player in any space has a strong competitor," Certify CEO Bob Neveu said. "If you look at any running race, two [athletes] run individually but they run against each other and they run faster."Expense management suppliers typically rely on integrations with multiple online booking tools, capping the clients they can win. Those partnerships also complicate procurement decisions for travel managers. After all, most customers prefer a one-stop shop solution, according to Neveu. "Prior to the acquisition, Certify and pretty much every other expense company out there had the 'E' covered, but few did travel," Neveu said.To offer an integrated solution, Certify would need to "build it, buy it or partner it," he said. "We had been working on the partner piece, and we thought about building it but realized it was just a long way away with a lot of challenges." This year, the elements fell into place. In June, K1 Investment Management acquired a $125 million majority stake in Certify and merged it with the private equity firm's three other expense firms: ExpenseWatch, Nexonia and Tallie. Combined the four expense companies' corporate clients number 7,500, second only to Concur. While Neveu says the companies will maintain their own brand identities, he also has said Certify technologies could cross over.K1's investment also provided Certify with cash to acquire a travel booking technology. Certify had partnered with NuTravel since 2010, and in July, the pair announced an integrated T&E solution for the midmarket and larger companies called Certify Enterprise Travel. It turns out the companies were fleshing out their merger in secret at the time. They announced the tie-up in September.The move is an opportunity to provide an alternative to Concur but also a distribution play. Concur has turned the travel management company market into a distribution vehicle for its expense product, but as the company has bolstered its services and products, some started to see Concur as a competitor to TMCs—something Concur and some of its TMC partners have adamantly refuted. So Neveu sees an opportunity to be an alternative for TMCs, as well.