Gurgaon-based Yatra Online Travel Pvt Ltd, the company behind the online travel portal Yatra.com, has raised Rs 140 crore ($23 million) led by IDG Ventures and Vertex Venture Management, the VC investment arm of Singapore's sovereign wealth fund Temasek. Existing investors including seed investor Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) also participated in this round.
The fresh capital will be used to accelerate the company's growth plans by enabling Yatra to further strengthen its position in the domestic hotels and holidays businesses, besides strategically investing in mobile technology, the firm said in a statement.
"We are focused on expanding our reach in the market and further diversifying our business by growing the hotels and holiday packages business. This new investment will enable us to enhance our mobile technology, and also strengthen our execution capabilities," said Dhruv Shringi, co-founder and CEO of Yatra.com.
"The investment in Yatra represents our Fund II's strategy of selective growth investments in market leading technology companies. Driven by Dhruv's exceptional leadership, the company has achieved market leadership in the domestic hotels and packages segment. This is a highly experienced and cohesive team that has demonstrated an outstanding track record and shown continued growth in the expanding online travel market in India," said Sudhir Sethi, founder, chairman and MD of IDG Ventures.
This is IDG's third fresh investment since January 1 and it comes at a time when the firm is on the road to raise its second India-focused VC fund. Last year it had disclosed that it is looking to raise around $175 million. NASDAQ-listed IT management software and solutions company CA Technologies has come in as a limited partner (LP) for IDG Ventures India Fund II.
For Vertex, this is the third known investment in India and comes soon after it led a $15 million funding round in Pune-based baby and kids' products e-tailer FirstCry.com. In that deal it had partnered IDG Ventures.
"Vertex's investment thesis is to invest in great companies and build them into champions. Yatra is such a company with a trusted name and a dominant position in the domestic travel industry, helmed by a strong management team under the leadership of Dhruv," said Joo Hock Chua, MD & CIO of Vertex Venture Management.
Vertex had previously also backed Reverse Logistics Company which operates under the brand Greendust.
Promod Haque, senior managing partner, Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) said, "NVP has continued to increase its investment in Yatra.com since 2006 when the company was founded. We are pleased to have witnessed the business go from a position of strength to a dominant player in the Indian market. The strength of Yatra.com's management team combined with the company's unparalleled focus on creating compelling value propositions for Indian travellers is the reason why we continue to back Yatra and believe so strongly in this growing sector."
Yatra was founded in 2006 by former Ebookers Group (UK) executives Dhruv Shringi, Manish Amin (CIO) and Sabina Chopra (EVP -operations). It is one of the top travel services company and its platform provides reservation facility for more than 12,000 hotels in India and over 4 lakh hotels around the world. The firm claims that it is doing 20,000 domestic tickets and 5,000 hotels and holiday packages per day.
The company is mainly competing with NASDAQ-listed MakeMyTrip.com, Cleartrip.com, Expedia.com, Goibibo.com and Via.com, among others.
In July 2011-12, Yatra had raised around $60 million over a staggered funding round. Previously, it had raised $5 million from NVP besides TV18 and Reliance PE in 2006. It had followed it up with an undisclosed amount of funding from Intel Capital in 2008. This takes its total funding till date to over $88 million, as per VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle.
Yatra had in the past also struck few inorganic growth moves. In January 2012, it acquired event ticketing company Buzzintown and later in June the same year bought online hotel booking site TravelGuru from Travelocity. A year earlier, it snapped Bangalore-based Magic Rooms Solutions India Pvt Ltd, a hotels aggregation site backed by Nexus Venture Partners.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)