Travel marketplace built from Kerala raises $1 million in funding
iTraveller.com is a travel marketplace started by Shiju Radhakrishnan along with Sanjay Kumar, Chitra Parija and Nisanth Kumar back in 2011. The company has just announced a fund rise of $1 million through ah! Ventures’ investment network, CLUB ah! Besides the existing investors of iTraveller and new investors from ah! Angels & LetsVenture, this was a first deal where ah! VC, the VC network of CLUB ah! also participated. Early stage VC, Mantra Ventures whose primary focus is on technology enabled startups, was the primary investor from ah! VC.
Founded in early 2011, iTraveller has created a proprietary technology backbone, which functions as a marketplace for holidays. The travellers can discover, plan and book their trips. They can completely customize & buy their trips online. On the supply side, iTraveller aggregates native wholesale suppliers who are responsible for the operational aspects of the business that includes ground handling and fulfillment. The travellers who come online on iTraveller can choose their destinations, discover the hotels and transfers compare reviews and plan their activities and sightseeing for their trips. One of our eSparks companies from 2013, iTraveller was incubated at Startup Village in Kochi from where the company setup base in Bangalore.
"With this fund raise, our singular focus is to achieve scale, from the current 20 room nights a day to over 100 room nights, within 12 months. We are resolved to become the largest tech-enabled platform for holidays in the country, with an ambitious target of one billion dollar transactions in fives years from now.”, says Shiju. The idea is to inculcate the culture of online discovery and planning, leading to transactions, which translates to a technology driven marketplace model. There are over 2 lakh trips created by users on iTraveller, features over 20 travel destinations across the globe and over 60 native wholesale suppliers from across these destinations.
CLUB ah!, an angel network of over 400 investors, including some early stage VCs. Started in 2012, the CLUB ah! platform claims to have over 2000 startups, 400+ seed/angel investors and over 50 VCs and intuitional investors. "It took less than 60 days to receive commitments from the investors and complete the documentation related formalities for iTraveller deal. Shiju and his team has been extremely prompt and co-operative in all matters and that too has helped in speedy closure” says Harshad Lahoti, Founder & CEO of ah! Ventures. CLUB ah! is in the process of closing 3 more deals in the coming weeks.
Travel marketplaces are still evolving in India. TravelTriangle is one of the frontrunners which recently raised INR 10 crores from SAIF Partners and ofcourse there is ixigo which is evolving into a mobile marketplace for travel. There are a lot of trip planning tools being built from India and iTraveller also emerged from there but has had a strong focus on the merchant side as well. This funding round will help iTraveller build towards scale in this humongous travel space.