Online short-stay accommodation provider Oravel Stays Pvt Ltd, a New Delhi-based startup, has secured an undisclosed amount in seed funding from a consortium of investors, including its promoter and startup accelerator Venture Nursery.
Eight other angel investors, including Everest Flavours MD Anand Ladsariya and Nirvana Venture Advisors co-founder Amit Patni, also participated in the round.
Oravel, which aggregates bed-and-breakfast establishments, private rooms and serviced apartments for short and mid-term rental, will use the funding to build a community of apartment owners and also market its services.
"A part of the funding will also be utilised to educate property owners with whom we have entered a service level agreement â€“ to ensure enhanced user experience," said Oravel's founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal.
Incubated at Venture Nursery earlier this year, Oravel is currently targeting Delhi-NCR and enables travellers to book clean, comfortable and affordable spaces.
The company, which is rapidly gaining presence in other cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Jaipur and Dehradun, is now planning to open office in these cities. "People think we are only present in Delhi-NCR. But we have been actually working with a lot of customers in cities like Bangalore and Mumbai. Oravel would like to be physically present in the cities where we are operating. So we will take a call in a month or so on how soon we can open offices in those cities," detailed Agarwal.
Asked how it is different from the US-based Airbnb (it also provides similar services), Agarwal said, "Airbnb caters to customers who travel from Europe to New Delhi or Bangalore. But Oravel is also targeting customers who are travelling across the country â€“ from Bangalore to Mangalore or Jaipur to New Delhi, even by bus. That's where the bulk of the bookings come from."
Agarwal, however, added that educating property owners and low response from travellers are some of the key challenges that the company is now facing.
Established in March 2012, Mumbai-based VentureNursery is India's first angel-backed startup accelerator. It is promoted by angel investors Shravan Shroff, founder and former MD of Fame Cinemas, and Ravi Kiran, former CEO (South East & South Asia) of Starcom MediaVest Group and co-founder and managing partner of Friends of Ambition.
Working on the principle that the angel ecosystem must focus primarily on maximising the success potential of startups, the accelerator undertakes an intensive and immersive coaching and mentoring role in the chosen startups and helps each with end-to-end infrastructural and learning support.
Asked about the investment in Oravel, Shroff said, "This space is poised for growth in the country. As larger numbers of people begin to travel, demand for cost-effective accommodation will increase."
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)