Indian low-cost airline SpiceJet has announced the acquisition of the team and technology of Travenues, a Bengaluru-based airline technology company. Travenues is the subsidiary of online travel aggregator ixigo, which was launched last year as an entry into supply-side technology platforms for airlines. It was creating ticket-booking technology platforms for airlines.
With this acquihire, the technology team of Travenues has joined SpiceJet and SpiceJet will inherit the airline technology and commerce platform built by Travenues. This includes deeptech advancements in mobile apps, UX, engagement, cross-selling, payments, ancillaries, personalisation and more.
Ashish Vikram, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, SpiceJet, said, “This acquihire will help SpiceJet strengthen its ecommerce platforms as we continue to innovate across multiple technology areas and achieve our vision of being the worldwide leader in aviation technology.”
Launched in 2019, Travenues was led by Chandramouli Gopalakrishnan, who will serve as the chief digital officer. Gopalakrishnan had previously worked in leadership roles at Shotang, Stayzilla and Goibibo. Travenues offers a comprehensive travel-tech optimised airline commerce and ancillary sales platform to airlines that allows for extensive customisation and state of the art personalisation. The company had signed its first technology partnership with SpiceJet for the digital transformation of its consumer-facing experiences.
Rajnish Kumar, cofounder & CTO, ixigo said, “We are happy that we were able to incubate a startup and build a next-generation platform with a motivated tightly-knit team that can truly disrupt airline direct sales and airline commerce. The possibilities this unfolds for SpiceJet are endless!”
In a Twitter post, CEO Aloke Bajpai said that Kumar and he will now focus on its core B2C product solving for the complex and tough problems Indian travellers face. “Our aim remains to build a more intelligent OTA with the highest level of empathy for customers,” he added.
Founded in 2006 by Bajpai and Kumar, ixigo has a user base of 150 Mn travellers and more than 5 Mn downloads on the Google Play Store. It claims to help users with personalised travel recommendations and tailor-made travel packages with its use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The travel app claims that it posted a strong financial performance for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, seeing a nearly 50% jump in revenue to the tune of INR 160 cr. Moreover, the company’s operating losses declined from INR 40 Cr in FY2019, to just INR 8 Cr in FY2020, which translated into a profitable first quarter for this year.
In March this year, ixigo had announced that the leadership team would take 60% pay cuts, while other employees would take 25-50% pay cuts, as the coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdown brought travel activities to a grinding halt. However, the company would be restarting full payment of salaries to its employees from July.
“We bit the bullet and said we wanna find a path that gets us there without letting people go, even if it means that six months down the line, if things don’t improve right and travel is even more deeply impacted, we may all go down together but that’s the risk that we are willing to take,” Bajpai said during an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session with Inc42 in March this year.