Exclusive: MakeMyTrip-backed travel-tech startup GoFro goes offline
GoFro, a travel-technology startup founded by former Snapdeal executive Amitabh Misra, has gone offline.
A person familiar with the development told TechCircle that GoFro has not been operational online since at least April this year. Another person, who also did not wish to be named, said that the Delhi-based startup had shut shop sometime around January or February.
The GoFro app is no longer listed on the Google Play Store while its website states that it is ‘currently under maintenance’.
Email queries sent to GoFro founder and chief executive Misra seeking further details did not yield a response till the time of publishing this report.
GoFro, operated by Bona Vita Technologies Pvt. Ltd, last raised funding in 2017 when Japanese travel company HIS Co. Ltd had led a Series B investment of $10 million. MakeMyTrip, the country’s largest online travel services provider, had topped up its investment in GoFro during that round.
Misra, who was Snapdeal’s chief technology officer, founded GoFro in 2016 as an online travel planning and booking marketplace for Indians travelling abroad.
GoFro essentially operated as a three-way online marketplace for holiday packages, connecting travellers with suppliers and destination experts. The company started out with the objective of providing travellers with an assortment of packages from all leading online and offline travel companies, including MakeMyTrip and Yatra, on a single platform.
The portal helped travelers plan their holidays with assisted booking and best-price options. Besides, users also had access to live assistance from travel experts, who helped travelers co-create a travel plan. After booking, the startup also offered ancillary services such as travel insurance, visa, foreign exchange, and SIM cards.
Indian travel-tech sector
The online travel segment in India is dominated by online travel agents such as MakeMyTrip and Yatra.
In March, US-headquartered software firm Ebix Inc set the ball rolling to acquire fellow Nasdaq-listed company Yatra Online Inc for $336 million (around Rs 2,350 crore then) in a cash-and-stock deal aimed at boosting its portfolio of Indian travel ventures.
The next month, Chinese travel services company Ctrip.com became the largest shareholder in MakeMyTrip after buying South African technology conglomerate Naspers’ entire stake in the Nasdaq-listed travel portal.
A couple of startups which offer services akin to GoFro have raised funding over the past year.
In March this year, Guiddoo World Travels Pvt. Ltd raised funding from US-headquartered venture capital firm SOSV and Australia-based VC firm Artesian.
Tour operator Thomas Cook (India) Ltd said last October that it was foraying into the travel-tech space with an investment in Traveljunkie Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which runs Ithaka, an app offering chat-based real-time travel advice from destination experts.
In the same month, TravelTriangle, an online marketplace for holiday packages, raised $3 million (around Rs 22 crore at current exchange rates) in venture debt from InnoVen Capital.