With 1.1 billion tourists expected to have travelled across the globe in 2014, tourism has managed to grow despite the global economic crisis. The spurt in the travel industry is making both entrepreneurs and investors eye this segment.
The Indian start-up ecosystem that has been focused on thee-commerce boom has recently also witnessed spurt in the travel start-ups with funding from firms like Kalaari Capital, Mayfield, Mantra Ventures, LetsVentures among others.
In 2014 the travel industry saw investments from venture capitalist across 13 deals. Some of the company that raised funding include Tripoto.com, TravelTriangle.com, iTraveller.com, Railyatri.com among others.
Pune-based TripHobo recently raised series B funding of $3 million from Mayfield and Kalaari Capital. Last month Bangalore-based Trip38 raised its first round of funding of Rs 6 crore from InterGlobe Technology Quotient and Lantern Capital.
“This is our second fund raising within 12 months. It was not that we were looking to raise funds but Mayfield got interested in us and we thought it would be a great opportunity to work with them,” said Karthik Ramachandra, COO, TripHobo.
Ramachandra explains that with more than a billion travellers opting to holiday there is tremendous demand for such applications.
TripHobo is one of the largest platform for discovering user generated itineraries and using them to create customised travel plans. Currently TripHobo is home to over 70,000 user created itineraries and curated content for close to 400 top tourist cities worldwide. In addition to the travel planner platform, TripHobo also provides planning related information for over 50,000 points of interest that aid users in travel planning.
“We get almost 250,000-300,000 unique visitors per month. Almost 7,000-10,000 itineraries are created every month. With the recent round of funding we plan to increase our content to 2,000 ctities from the current 400. We also intend to invest in R&D and strengthen our system to be more intuitive and understand what the users want,” added Ramachandra.
Other than the rise in global tourism the Indian traveller having started to explore more it is also the building ecosystem that has lead to some innovative tech firms in travel industry. India is the second fastest growing market for smartphone consumption. According to an Ericsson report users in India spend over three hours on an average on their devices (smartphones).
This was one of the reason why the founders of Trip38 decided that their next venture in the travel industry had to be mobile based. Seshadari Krishnan, co-founder Trip38 shares that after the sale of Magic Rooms to Yatra.com, the founders were looking at this space yet again but with a clear focus on using the mobile platform.
“Other than the mobile platform we wanted to create a product that had a global appeal. We realised that after the post booking phase, not much is available for the traveller to sort out his travel plans,” he added. Trip38 provides features such as itinerary management which means flight status, gate number, terminal, hotel details etc. As user can also use the app to plan on the day of travel, like reaching airport what offers are available at duty free etc.
The app is available for iOS and Android. “We come into picture once the user has done his planning. There is no other app that provides you for Indian restaurants in foreign locations. We have aggregated duty free shops of 100 airports. In future too we will focus on working with Airlines and airports,” said Krishnan.
The app has been downloaded 25,000 times across 150 countries, the founders aim to take this number of 3 million downloads in the next 18 months. Krishnan added that there are hardly any mobile apps for the travel industry.