Panji headquartered Arcis Tours, which owns eco-friendly travel tourism platform BLive, has raised an undisclosed amount in a bridge funding round from early-stage investor platform Mumbai Angel Network.
In 2019, the company, which provides tours on electric bikes, raised a little over $520,000 in a stake sale to Bengaluru-based event management firm DNA Entertainment Networks. It has also raised $130,000 in a seed round from Goa-based angel investors, Dempo Group chairman Shrinivas Dempo and Vimson Group CMD Shivanand Salgaocar.
Founded in 2016 by Samarth Kholkar and Sandeep Mukherjee, BLive is an eco-tourism platform that provides remote-rural experience tours. The electric bikes have a range of 50 kilometres and the packaged tours mostly cover areas in Goa, Mysore, Gujarat and Puducherry.
With the latest funding BLive will expand its operations to new locations, the company said in a statement.
Prior to starting BLive, Kholkar was the CEO of Mojo Hospitality and spent 10 years in sales and marketing at IBM. Mukherjee has over 13 years of marketing experience working with Nokia, Microsoft and SABMiller.
"Travel and tourism industry has taken a big hit due to the present pandemic crisis. Securing an investment amidst the present situation shows the confidence of investors in the potential of our business model and boosts our confidence to bounce back quickly,” Samarth Kholkar and Sandeep Mukherjee, co-founders of BLive said.
The travel-tech sector has taken a severe hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Employees of startups such as Ixigo and MakeMyTrip have either been laid off or given salary cuts as businesses try to navigate the crisis.
However, Mumbai Angels expects the industry to re-enter growth track.
“We are seeing a dynamic shift in how travel takes place and are hoping that BLive becomes a star in our portfolio. We are extremely bullish about participating in this industry that will redefine mobility in the near future,” Nandini Mansinghka co-promoter and CEO of Mumbai Angels said.
BLive is Mumbai Angels’ first bet in 2020 so far. Some of its latest investments include do-it-yourself kit making startup WitBlox and space-tech startup Dhruva Space. Last year, Mumbai Angels also made an exit from ed-tech platform Funtoot in a $10 million acquisition by Reliance Industries-backed Embibe. Mumbai Angels Network claims to have a network of over 450 members and has a portfolio of 135 startups and 30 exits.