ixigo, the Delhi-based travel search marketplace acquires Rutogo, an intercity cab aggregator for an undisclosed amount. The entire team of Rutugo will be joining ixigo to help scale their cab app, which was launched few months ago. Eventually, Rutugo will be under the ixigo blanket.
While the ixigo cab app has till date been limited specifically for intracity travel, with the acquisition of Rutogo, the team intends to expand deeper into the cab and intercity travel market. This is the second acquisition announcement by ixigo in a month. It had earlier 'acqu-hired' the The Indian backpacker.
Rajnish Kumar, Co-founder and CTO of ixigo, says that they had intercity travel on their roadmap and they were looking for players especially in the intercity cab travel segment. "We were looking for people who had deep learning and knowledge in the space, and the Rutugo team seemed the best and most passionate of the lot," adds Rajnish.
Started by Venus Dharia and Aneesh Rayancha, Rutugo was specifically born to cater to intercity cab travel. The startup had begun operations in May this year and had already on-loaded close to a 100 intercity cab vendors in the Delhi NCR region. With this acquisition in place, by the end of next month, ixigo will be launching outstation taxis, and will also open a cabs marketplace to partner with other booking apps in the space.
The team believes that the cab segment currently is one of the biggest segments in the country, and the intercity cab travel, Rajnish says, is a space that is largely untapped. "If you combine the intercity and intracity cab space it's close to USD 15 billion dollars. We think that it's a big market to capture, and the marketplace model is one of the best models to capture this segment," says Rajnish.
Venus Dhuria, Co-founder of Rutogo, added that the app-based cab booking market is worth close to USD 9 billion. He says that given the higher value of transactions in the intercity cab model, the need for recognised vendors is greater. "With both intracity and intercity cab listings in one space, ixigo can undoubtedly build India's top cab search marketplace," adds Venus.
Aloke Bajpai, Co-Founder & CEO of ixigo, says that this acquisition fits perfectly with their overall strategy of being an intra-city and inter-city taxi booking with ixigo cab. He adds that now with cabs, they have the entire travel transportation service segment in place.
"We already have a lot of demand in our ecosystem with 6.5 million monthly uniques and the Micromax strategic partnership. Now our agenda is to increase that in the next year. Intercity cab travel needs more aggregation, especially seeing how unorganised the space actually is," adds Rajnesh.
The Indian radio taxi market is pegged anywhere between USD 6 and 9 billion by different estimates and is forecast to grow at 17-20 per cent annually. More importantly, only about four-six per cent of this market is organised – the rest is by operators who own fleets of two-50 cars and typically have a presence in one city.
While the market is poised for growth and great traction, it may be awhile before we see an Amazon-Flipkart type price war anytime soon. At least eight-10 major players with fleet sizes of 10,000-15,000 cars will consolidate their positions in the next 18-24 months.