Gurugram-headquartered travel marketplace TravelTriangle has raised $12 Mn (INR 78 Cr) in a Series C round of funding led by growth-capital fund Fundamentum. Existing investors – SAIF Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, RB investments – and a clutch of angel investors also participated in the round.
The deal marks the first investment by Fundamentum. With this, Ashish Kumar, Partner at Fundamentum, will join the TravelTriangle board.
Commenting on the development, Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Fundamentum said, “We met more than 50 companies before investing in TravelTriangle and we were very impressed with the team. We believe that this team is amongst the very best that we have seen in the Indian technology ecosystem, by virtue of their learnability, customer-centricity, frugality, and hunger to build a very large business.”
“They have the foresight and demonstrated operational experience to win this category. We are very excited about partnering with the team to build this business together,” Nilekani added.
As per the media statement, the funds will be used to invest in building technology, in order to further strengthen the customer interaction layer using artificial intelligence and machine learning, while the data analytics will help build a recommendation engine. The company is also looking to expand to newer destinations and invest in brand building.
TravelTriangle Growth Story: 2.5 Mn Monthly Traffic, 700+ Travel Agents
Founded in 2011 by Sankalp Agarwal, Sanchit Garg and Prabhat Gupta, TravelTriangle is an online travel marketplace that strives to bring the travelers as well as travel agents on a common platform. Through its tech-focussed product, the company is on its way of encompassing all the components of holiday ecosystem.
Essentially, TravelTriangle offers a SaaS-based CRM platform for travel agents to manage and analyse customer interactions and draw insights from there to improve customer retention and drive sales growth.
It currently gets a monthly traffic of 2.5 Mn and has close to 700 active travel agents operating through the platform. Today, according to a media statement shared by the company, there are travel agents who get close to 90% of their revenue through TravelTriangle.
Till date, it has raised close to $20 Mn funding from SAIF Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and RB Investments, among others.
Speaking on the latest Series C fundraise, Sankalp Agarwal, Co-Founder and CEO, TravelTriangle said, “The vision of the company is to encompass all the components of online holiday eco-system and be the one-stop solution for the traveler. We are continually growing and have been the fastest growing holiday player with the highest NPS (Net Promoter Score).”
He added, “To win the confidence of pedigreed entrepreneur investors like Nandan and Sanjeev is a great validation of our journey thus far. Our success up till now has been the effort of our super motivated and diligent team.”
As claimed by Agarwal, the travel startup has already hit positive unit economics and scale and is on track to become EBITDA profitable by next year.
About Fundamentum: An Overview
Fundamentum is envisioned as a scale-up platform committed to building enduring technology companies out of India. Founded by Nandan Nilekani and Sanjeev Aggarwal, the firm has an initial corpus of $100 Mn, which is extendable to $200 Mn.
It aims to invest in consumer technology businesses, particularly ventures that are solving unique Indian problems. While TravelTriangle is Fundamentum’s first investment, the firm is looking to pump $10 Mn-$24 Mn in companies that have attained the product market fit, have an initial momentum and are looking to scale up.
Last month, Fundamentum secured an investment of $20 Mn from CDPQ, a Canada-based institutional investor, for its first growth fund “Fundamentum Partnership – Fund I”.
Previously, both Aggarwal and Nilekani have invested in number of travel startups including MakeMyTrip, RedBus, and RailYatri.
Ashish Kumar, Partner, Fundamentum stated, “Holidays is a very large and profitable market, and requires a team with product-first DNA who can take along multiple ecosystem players. Sankalp and the team have the right combination of technology expertise, business acumen and domain knowledge to win the holiday travel market. We are delighted to collaborate with TravelTriangle and look forward to the exciting next phase of growth.”
The Burgeoning Potential Of The Indian Travel Industry
Currently ranking 7th globally in terms of its contribution to the country’s GDP, the Indian tourism and travel sector underwent an impressive 8.5% jump last year, with 2017 witnessing an additional 6.7% leap. Interestingly, domestic travel is what currently leads the charge, accounting for a staggering 88% of the total revenue generated by the tourism sector in 2016.
According to a Google India-BCG report, the country’s travel market (both offline and online) is expected to become a $48 Bn industry within the next three years. Riding on India’s growing tourism wave is a legion of startups that are embracing emerging technologies to develop innovative solutions in the market.
As per an IBEF report, the online travel space will likely account for 40% to 50% of total transactions by 2020. According to Inc42 DataLabs, the online travel sector saw a total funding of $790 Mn through 30 deals up to November 2017.
Out of this, a total of $43 Mn was infused in early-stage startups across 13 deals till November 2017. This is a massive increase compared to last year when around $13.5 Mn was pumped into Seed and early-stage traveltech startups.
In this space, TravelTriangle competes against a host of players such as MakeMyTrip, Yatra, ixigo, YuMiGo, HolidayIQ, ClearTrip, Expedia, Ebix-acquired Via.com, Hotels.com and Booking.com. Recently, ecommerce giant Flipkart announced a partnership with MakeMyTrip, thus making its foray into the online travel aggregator space.
The industry’s growth, in recent times, has largely been driven by independent travellers wanting to travel overseas/domestic as a couple, family or individuals.
This is the segment that TravelTriangle has focused on, in a bid to rapidly scale and attain market leadership. With the $12 Mn funding from Fundamentum and others, how it performs in the coming months will be interesting to watch.