Hipmunk’s co-founders tried to buy it back before the shutdown

TFT-admin | January 14, 2020

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By Greg Kumparak

In a little over a week, the travel metasearch engine Hipmunk will shut down. It’s an abrupt and disappointing end for a product acquired by SAP Concur around three and a half years ago.

It didn’t have to go this way, though. We’re now hearing that Hipmunk co-founders Adam Goldstein and Reddit CEO Steve Huffman (both of whom left Hipmunk in years prior) made an offer to buy the company back rather than have it shut down, to no avail.

As first reported by Skift and confirmed with our own sources, Hipmunk employees at an all-hands meeting today asked about the buyback offer and were told it wasn’t going to happen.

Why SAP Concur would opt to shut down Hipmunk rather than spin it back out isn’t entirely clear, though these things are undoubtedly more complicated than the parent company saying “Oh, you want it back? Sure! Take it!”

A few years post-acquisition, Hipmunk DNA has intertwined with Concur’s to some degree — including a product for small-to-medium businesses straight up called “Concur Hipmunk” — so there’s presumably interest on SAP Concur’s end in keeping engineers who know all the relevant codebases around. Hipmunk also had patents that switched hands in the acquisition (and more were approved post-acquisition), and it’s possible SAP doesn’t want to let those go. It’s also entirely feasible that the offer came too late, or just wasn’t significant enough, for a company as large as SAP to slam the brakes and start detangling things.

A rep for SAP Concur declined to comment.