- Ride-hailing aggregator Ola is exploring a public offer early next year, aiming to raise at least $1.5-2 billion, valuing the Bengaluru-based unicorn at $12-14 billion.
- The proposed listing of Ola, which counts SoftBank, Tiger Global Management and Tencent as some of its key investors, will raise half the capital through a primary issuance while the rest will be through an offer for sale from some early backers, people with knowledge of the matter told ET. Investment banks including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Kotak Mahindra Capital, Citigroup and JP Morgan are understood to be working with the company on filing preliminary documents with the market regulator in the next two months.
- Ola has chosen three banks – Kotak Investment Banking, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley – to manage its $1-billion IPO. PhonePe has received an insurance broking licence from the industry regulator.
Domestic travel meant pilgrimages, honeymoon destinations and treading the beaten track. But that’s changing fast. The travel industry is seeing a radical shift in recent times with younger consumers looking for experiences rather than destinations.
The Indian online industry has also buckled up to cater to this new segment. Travel sites have started focusing on localised experiences than vanilla sightseeing. Startups are walking an extra mile to bring fresh and innovative ideas to engage users.
Take for instance Thrillophilia, a website for experiential travel. The three year old marketplace of unique activities, things to do and experiences currently lists more than 900 experiences across 74 cities in India.
The firm did a turnover of Rs 3 crores last year with a growth rate of 200% from past three years. Currently it serves more than 2200 customers a month and is planning to empower local vendors feature on the website to take SMS bookings.
The Bangalore based startup claims that the best sellers on the site are weekend getaway activities from Bangalore, where it is headquartered.
According to Abhishek Daga, Co-Founder, Thrillophilia, 12% of the revenues comes from international travellers who mainly buy trips and activities in Rajasthan and Kerala. But the rest, are domestic travellers.
The Indian travel industry is scattered with small and large vendors offering unique experiences, but their services are limited to an area, city or community. In fact, 73% of share of the overall travel Industry in India, which is expected to reach $23 billion by the end of 2013, lies with non digital service providers.
iExperience, a Delhi based startup focussing on a similar theme, now aggregates over 200 experiences at prices ranging from Rs 220 to Rs 30,000, making it an attractive proposition for the budget conscious and savvy youngsters. The company operates in 15 cities. (Read our review of iExperience here).
Tushky, another Mumbai based startup wants to bring extraordinary experiences to people. Part of the 6th batch of 500 startups, Tushky aggregates things to do from different categories such as Health, Adventure, Cooking, Fashion, Music, and Photography among others. (Read our coverage of Tushky here).
Indian activity travel market is $2 billion
According to Abhishek Daga Co-Founder,Thrillophilia, Indian activity travel market is around $2 billion in contrast to global market size, which is around $142 billion. “Online travel has the largest share in Indian ecommerce industry. According to an estimate, it will constitute 71% of the total ecommerce market of Rs 62,967 crore by the end of 2013.”
Indian online travel agencies such as ixigo.com and Cleartrip have launched products that also offer intercity travel experiences and things to do. The trip planner by ixigo offers options of weekend getaways, things to do in Delhi for free and other similar stuff. Waytogo, a multi mode route finding and booking tool by Cleartrip has transit data for intra city commutation and weekend getaways in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Companies like Linger.in* that are more of an offline business and many others who have started up are also about offbeat experiences.
Activity travel constitutes 20% of the global spend done on tourism
Globally, activities and experience based things to do are in huge demand, specially in US and Europe. Of the global spend done on tourism in 2011, nearly 20% is on adventure and activity travel, which was just 7% in 2000 according to a report by Xola, a global adventure consultancy firm.
* Linger’s founder Sameer is part of the NextBigWhat team.
This is a typical case of a company gone too big to handle ownership of such small areas.
But, before you blame them of silly laziness, important to note that even Google forgot to renew its .DE domain name.
Recommended Read : Online Travel Agents – Sign of Changing Times
Travel search engine Wego has raised $17 mn to invest in its growth in the Asia Pacific & Middle east region, the company said in a statement.
Private equity firms Crescent Point and Victoria Capital have joined existing investors Tiger Global, the Singapore headquartered company said.
The portal wants to use this capital to improve on its product and grow its team.
The meta search engine launched in India in May 2012 with price comparison of flights, hotels, holiday packages and deals from over 150 websites. It had partnered with Yatra, Makemytrip, Cleartrip, Expedia, Via in OTA, Lemon Tree, Accor and Taj Group in hotel chains, Myguesthouse, Stayzilla, India Hotel Review in budget accommodations and many others.
Intel Corporation’s global investment and M&A organization, Intel Capital has invested around $16 million in three Asian e-commerce firms which includes Indian firms Bright Lifecare and Snapdeal, the company said.
The two Indian investments, in Snapdeal and Bright Lifecare which runs HealthKart, were made two months ago with other investors. The third company is Singapore’s Reebonz.com,a private luxury goods retailers, an already existing portfolio company of Intel Capital. Intel Capital first invested in the company in 2012.
The announcement was made at the World Economic Forum in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
Bright Lifecare is a distributor of nutrition, health and wellness products while Snapdeal.com is a consumer goods marketplace in India. Bright Lifecare also operates e-pharmacy network, HealthKartPlus. Snapdeal’s has a reach of 20 million registered users and delivers to nearly 4000+ towns and cities of India. Intel has co-invested in Snapdeal in a $50 million round with eBay and other investors. The HealthKartPlus investment was also made two months ago in which Intel Capital invested $14 million alongside Sequoia Capital.
The investment directors for these investments are: Pradeep Tagare (Mumbai) for Bright Lifecare, Mahesh Vaidya (New Delhi) for Snapdeal.com and Deepak Natarajan (Singapore) for Reebonz.com.
Intel hopes that these investments will help drive innovation in the fast-growing e-commerce and distribution industries.
Intel Capital has investments in 26 countries and in In 2012, it invested US$352 million in 150 investments globally, with approximately 57% of funds invested outside North America. Intel Capital which started investing in Asia Pacific in 1998, has till now invested over $2 billion in more than 320 technology companies across the region. Over 60 of these companies have gone public or have been acquired.
In India, Intel Capital has invested over $320 million in 80+ companies across 10 cities, since 1998. Last year, Intel Capital invested in 6 companies: Hungama.com, Yatra.com, July Systems, Tejas Networks, WSO2 Inc. and Saankhya Labs.
Rescheduling flights has been one of the most harrowing experience any traveler would have gone through. Inability to reach customer support, long holds on the phone and cumbersome procedures to reschedule make the process a pain.
The old procedure involved a call to the customer support, and then the customer care executive will read out (provided you get through one) a list of available alternatives and their corresponding fare differences. Then you choose an option and then decide on the payment. And if the payment is to be made by card then the whole procedure becomes cumbersome, involving One Time Passwords (OTP) and multiple phone calls. Phew! You regret booking the flight in the first place.
Cleartrip has introduced an easier alternative to this by letting users reschedule or change flights online. You can now change pretty much any aspect of the travel itinerary like date, flight and time. These changes can be applied to select passengers and on select sectors also.
All you have to do in order to reschedule is log in to your Cleartrip Account and click on the ‘Change flights’ icon to make the changes.
But The strange fact is that IRCTC had similar function, wherein you can cancel tickets for select customers only, introduce way back. Looks like its time travel agents and airline get their stuff back together.
HolidayIQ, the online travel and holiday information company based in Bangalore, has raised about Rs 26- Rs 30 cr from Tiger Global Management and Accel Partners, according to a new report. This is the third round of funding for the company which has de-merged from Singapore based travel search firm Wego, The Economic Times reported.
In 2010, HolidayIQ had merged with Wego, a travel meta-search startup based in Singapore. The combined entity had raised series B funding from Tiger Global, the New York based growth capital fund.
Accel Partners first invested in the company in 2006. HolidayIQ is not into ecommerce yet.
As the leisure travel industry grows, there has been lot of action in the sector. Last week, New Delhi based travel package site TravelMasti was acquired by Via. The company had raised funds from BCCL in 2007.
While a recent supreme court order which banned airline transaction fee will erode the margins of online travel agents, the industry as such is growing. Players like MakeMyTrip and Yatra have started diversifying into non flight business to decrease their dependency on flight business. Two months ago, Makemytrip acquired Thailands’ ITC group for $3.2 million and before that, it acquired the Hotel Travel Group for $25 million.
New Delhi based travel package site, TravelMasti has been acquired by Via.
The company which earlier raised funding from BCCL in 2007 is present (offline) in Dehradun, Rajkot, Jamnagar,Surat cities through its Travelmasti Lounge Network.
The online travel industry has been facing heat owing to lower margin and the recent court ruling banning airline transaction fee is going to erode the margins further.
And that’s why companies like MakeMyTrip and Yatra started diversifying into non-flight business (i.e. hotels/car bookings etc) in order to decrease their dependency on flight business.
For Via, TravelMasti acquisition provides the much needed depth in holiday package business.
More details as we get them.