1993-2018

SAP Concur Celebrates 25 Years of Digital Innovation


Cloud, mobile, platform economics: since its inception, SAP Concur has been at the forefront of the major digital trends of our time. In 25 years, the former start-up has developed into the world’s leading provider of integrated solutions for expense, travel, and invoice management.

 
 
 
 
 

1993

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It must be easier!

– Steve Singh, co-founder of SAP Concur

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Lots and lots of paper records. Time-consuming expense reports. Isn’t there an easier way to do this? In the early 1990s, Steve Singh had this very idea in mind – Concur was born. Steve Singh founded the company (initially named "Moorea Software") together with his brother Rajeev and friend Mike Hilton in August 1993. 

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1994

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The three founders put their foot down. Only one year after its launch, QuickXpense for Windows 95 is the first product to appear. Pioneering: even then, the program enabled the automatic creation of travel expense reports based on downloaded credit card invoices. With QuickXpense the young company (then called "Portable Software") strikes a chord with business travellers, because there is no comparable product on the market.

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1994 print ad for QuickXpense, Concur’s first application to operate under the name Portable Software. It appears mainly in the on-board magazines of major airlines and receives a great deal of attention from business travellers.

1994 print ad for QuickXpense, Concur’s first application to operate under the name Portable Software. It appears mainly in the on-board magazines of major airlines and receives a great deal of attention from business travellers.

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Floppy instead of cloud

 

In the early 90s, the floppy disk remains the central medium for a long time – also for QuickXpense, Concur’s first application.

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Shop shelf instead of App Store

QuickXpense is sold in physical cardboard boxes through electronics stores such as CompUSA or Egghead Software. Software as a Service (SaaS) via the cloud was hardly imaginable at the time. But this is exactly where Concur was soon to become a pioneer ...

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1995

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Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and many other media report on QuickXpense. Looking back, Rajeev Singh, one of Concur’s co-founders, says: ‘We were very happy because our clients loved the program. This led to numerous positive articles in the press. The newspaper reports really got our business going.’

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For those who believe that preparing expense reports is a form of mental torture developed by diabolical accountants, there is hope. This program uniquely removes boredom and pain from the process.
— QuickXpense Report in the Chicago Tribune (19 February 1995)
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1997

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The year Concur takes off: the browser-based version of QuickXpense appears. In addition, sales are now focused on enterprise customers instead of end users – with success: JC Penney’s and US Sprint become Concur’s first major customers. Concur is also taking off across the pond, opening its first office outside North America in London.

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Browser instead of
floppy

With XMS, a browser-based version of QuickXpense is released in 1997. Customers can install it on internal servers. The software does not yet come from the cloud. However, important foundations are laid for this step, which would follow soon.

Concur is growing rapidly

The browser-based version of QuickXpense is very popular: in just two years, sales almost quintuple.
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Europe calling

The London office marks the beginning of Concur’s international expansion: in the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Great Britain and the Netherlands, employees now take care of local sales, marketing, support, and research and development.

 
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1998

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Concur goes public

On 16 December 1998, Concur goes public and starts at $12.50 per share. With only 231 employees and just five years after it was founded, Concur is already valued at around 206 million US dollars. The stock remains a success story – interrupted by the dot-com crisis in 2001: shortly before the takeover by SAP AG (in 2014), the share price is 128.78 US dollars. Those who were present at the IPO have increased their original investment more than tenfold.

 
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New name: Portable Software becomes Concur

 
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The IPO is also the birth of the company name Concur. The term comes from the Latin concurrere (‘converge’) and thus already refers to the idea of a comprehensive, integrated solution.

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1999

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Into the cloud: Concur as a Software as a Service (SaaS) pioneer

Concur eWorkplace is the first cloud offering to be launched in 1999. Customers no longer have to install the application package on their own servers, but can use it conveniently via their Internet browser – thus saving the costs for IT infrastructure.

 

What sounds like a matter of course today was revolutionary and associated with a high degree of entrepreneurial daring. Numerous analysts and market observers doubt the new strategy. And the founders are also aware of the risks. Our efforts to sell products via a Web-based subscription model may fail. ‘(...) This model is untested and differs significantly from traditional distribution models (...)’. But the courage pays off: Concur is becoming a pioneer in cloud technology.

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We free our customers from the burden of operating their own IT infrastructure.
— Steve Singh, co-founder of SAP Concur, 1999
 
 
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2001

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As a result of the dot-com crash, Concur’s share price drops to 31 cents. Despite the difficult situation, Concur remains true to its line and now completely abandons the on-premises distribution model: all applications are now offered as a Web-based subscription model (Software as a Service, SaaS).

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2006

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Travel meets Expense

With the acquisition of Outtask Inc, the provider of Cliqbook booking software, Concur creates a second mainstay alongside expense product Expense with booking tool Travel – and moves a decisive step closer to the goal of an end-to-end solution for business travel.

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Entrepreneurial courage that is rewarded

Concur is ahead of its time with the idea of an integrated travel and expense offering. Sceptics never tire of stressing the possible risks. ‘This is not going to work,’ cries the entire industry.

But it does work and the success exceeds all expectations. Today thousands of customers worldwide appreciate the enormous advantages of an integrated end-to-end solution.

 

The booking of business trips and the management of travel expenses – it is indisputable that these two business processes go hand in hand.
— Steve Singh, co-founder of SAP Concur, 2006
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2009

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The mobile revolution of business travel

In 2007, the first iPhone is released – and revolutionises the way people make mobile-phone calls, surf the Internet and take photos. The App Store will follow in 2008. It offers developers a groundbreaking solution for distributing their software and offering apps to end users. Concur recognises the potential for business travel early on and releases its first mobile app in early 2009.

Book on the road, order a taxi or settle travel expenses: what is normal today is brand new in 2009. Concur is once again shaping one of the most important digital trends in its industry in recent years.

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By definition, business travellers are mobile. So far, however, we have not been able to support our target group on the road. Today we can.
— Rajeev Singh, co-founder of SAP Concur
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2011

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TripIt becomes 

part of Concur

The growing importance of mobile devices is also reflected in the acquisition of TripIt, an app for mobile travel plans. Users of the app can forward booking confirmations by email to the app, which automatically creates travel plans.

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2013

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Concur’s transformation into the world’s leading business travel platform 

2013 sees the launch of the Concur App Center. It provides access to over 180 partner integrations today – from Airbnb and Uber to Booking.com, Marriot and EY. This thriving ecosystem shows that the transition from a traditional software provider to a digital platform can succeed – and why Concur should become the most expensive SAP acquisition of all time shortly thereafter.

In the digital era, the demands of business travellers are changing more and more dynamically, becoming more diverse and more individual. No supplier can do this on its own. It requires a network of strong partners. This is why Concur’s platform approach is so valuable to its clients. The App Center allows customers to use their data securely and intelligently for third-party apps. From flight and hotel providers to the booking of rental cars and trains to the management of compliance, expenses and risks.

 
 
12 of today's more than 180 partner integrations that SAP Concur customers can use via the App Center.

12 of today's more than 180 partner integrations that SAP Concur customers can use via the App Center.

 
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2014

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Concur becomes part of the SAP family

In late 2014, Concur is acquired by SAP, the market leader in enterprise software – 6.5 billion euro, the most expensive acquisition in SAP’s history to date.

It is also the beginning of a far-reaching cooperation for innovations. In addition to the seamless connection to SAP ERP systems, this has recently been reflected in the development of new functionalities based on SAP Leonardo technology.

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2018

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Rebranding: Concur becomes SAP Concur

Three years after the acquisition of Concur by SAP, the deepened integration of both companies is now also expressed in its name – Concur becomes SAP Concur.

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Thanks for 25 years

For 25 years, SAP Concur has shaped the future of spend management and is today the world’s leading provider of integrated expense, travel, and invoice management. Over time, SAP Concur has reinvented itself and played a key role in major trends such as cloud, mobile and platform economics. Courage and innovation are deeply rooted in the company’s culture. Therefore, it is only logical that together with our partners and customers, we  continue to shape the future of expense, travel, and invoice management. To the next 25 years!

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