In a partnership that will more than quadruple its customer base, Annapolis-based iJET Travel Intelligence said yesterday that it is combining services with global risk consulting company Kroll Inc.
As part of the deal, Kroll will move its intelligence division, now housed in Vienna, Va., to iJET's Maryland offices, and the two companies will merge their lists of clients. The companies are deciding how many of the dozen Kroll employees will make the move, officials said.
iJET will provide round-the-clock health, political, safety and other advisories to overseas travelers. New York-based Kroll will help companies and clients create long-term travel-risk plans.
The number of iJET customers will increase from 40 to more than 170 as a result of the partnership, said President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce McIndoe.
The companies did not disclose financial details of the deal.
"Kroll will take our intelligence services and integrate it with their security, executive protection, crisis management and other programs to create a one-stop-shop for corporations," McIndoe said.
Kroll is a well-established risk consulting company with more than 55 offices on six continents. Last year, the publicly traded company had revenue of $207.8 million.
Kroll officials said iJET's intelligence services are more expansive than those Kroll now offers. For instance, iJET, which has 45 employees, can give clients minute-by-minute security updates from anywhere in the country.
"We felt that iJET had the kind of technology that we were looking for to provide our clients with a better product than we have been providing," said Jeff Schlanger, chief operating officer of Kroll's security services group. "Our clients, no matter where they are, as long as they have access to a cell phone or a pager, can get crucial travel information."
McIndoe said iJET, which employs people who once worked for the CIA and other military intelligence services, spoke with several companies before selecting Kroll as a partner.
Like that of many intelligence companies, iJET`s business soared after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, he said.
"Companies are moving to focus on all of their employees that are traveling, not just the top brass," McIndoe said.
Privately held iJET more than doubled its revenue and number of customers in the six months after Sept. 11, company officials said. McIndoe declined to disclose revenue figures.
Despite the success of companies such as iJET, some analysts question how profitable travel intelligence agencies can be, particularly when government agencies provide some of the same advisories.
"People are interested in this information. The question is if they're willing to pay for it and how much they're willing to pay for it," said David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association.
McIndoe said iJET's information is more detailed than that provided by agencies such as the State Department. He said he is banking on increasing interest in his company.