ItzCash parent, US-based Ebix has acquired Bengaluru based omni-channel online travel and assisted ecommerce exchange, Via.com. As part of the acquisition, one of the Singapore-based subsidiaries of Ebix has entered into an agreement with the online travel portal.
The move is geared towards expanding Ebix’s distribution network to more than 224K outlets across Southeast Asia. Furthermore, the deal will usher in new cross-selling opportunities for the on-demand software and ecommerce services provider.
Commenting on the development, Ebix Chairman, President and CEO Robin Raina said “I believe that the addition of Via.com.com.com’s integrated platform into our rapidly growing EbixCash financial exchange, places us in a very strong position to implement our vision related to Financial Exchanges in the South East of Asia. This allows us tremendous cross-selling opportunities through each other’s distribution networks as our product portfolio is complimentary and a perfect fit for each of our distribution outlets and corporate clients.”
As per the official statement, Via.com has been acquired at a total enterprise valuation of $74.9 Mn. The deal is expected to be finalised in the next few days. The RainMaker Group acted as the sole financial advisor to shareholders of the online travel platform.
The startup was earlier engaged in talks with One97 Communications, the parent company of Paytm, about a potential $80 Mn sale.
Online Travel Portal Via.Com: From 2006 To Present
Via.com was launched in 2006 and was formerly known as Flight Raja Travels Pvt. Ltd. It received $5 Mn from IndoUS Venture Partners in 2007 and another $10 Mn from Sequoia Capital in 2009. The company claimed to have turned profitable in 2007.
Later in 2013, co-founders of Via.com Vinay Gupta (CEO) and Amit Aggarwal (CTO) left the firm to start another travel venture Trip Factory based in Singapore. Prior to the exit of co-founders, COO V. Swaminathan was promoted to as the new CEO of the travel portal.
Via.com is a distributor of transportation ticketing, accommodation reservation, packaged tours, corporate travel management, travel ancillaries, retail and financial services. The company claims to have a comprehensive suite of travel and retail products and growing set of financial services products. The company website states that currently Via.com has a userbase of 40 Mn customers and 100K+ resellers across 2600 cities and towns.
The travel portal’s distribution network encompasses over 85,000 agents in India, with a hotel inventory of more than 500K. Via.com offers its services through mobile apps, websites, corporate platform, and a centralised, toll-free, 24-hour customer service centre. It is present in the travel, retail and fintech space in India, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, HongKong, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Oman and UAE.
Ebix: Expediting Growth Through Acquisition
Ebix is an international supplier of on-demand software and ecommerce services to the insurance, financial, e-governance and healthcare industries. With 40+ offices across Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, New Zealand, Singapore, the US and the UK, Ebix powers multiple exchanges across the world.
This is Ebix’s fourth remittance related acquisition in the last couple of months and comes just over a month after it acquired the Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS) Business of Paul Merchants Limited, PML for $40.7 Mn.
In August, it acquired YouFirst Money Express and the asset purchase of Wall Street Finance Limited. Around the same time, the ItzCash parent took over the MTSS assets of Uttar Pradesh-based Wall Street Finance Ltd for $7.4 Mn. Earlier, Ebix acquired an 80% stake in ItzCash in May 2017.
Speaking about the Via.com acquisition, Robin added, “For us taking a strong position in the travel area was very important, since insurance, remittances, phone recharges, prepaid gift cards etc. are the things that complement a consumer’s needs when they engage in travel. We believe that the cross-selling opportunities will further fuel organic growth in our EbixCash Financial Exchange portfolio.”
As stated by Robin, Ebix is preparing to generate around $33 Mn in GAAP revenues in 2018. The latest acquisition of Via.com is another step that the US-based ItzCash parent has taken in recent months to solidify its presence in the Indian travel space, which is expected to reach $48 Bn by 2020 as per a recent Google India-BCG report.