Ahead of its IPO, ixigo maps its growth strategy for the next billion users
AI-based travel app ixigo recently filed the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for its upcoming Initial Public Offering (IPO). ixigo is aiming to raise Rs 1,600 crore via the IPO, which will be used for organic and inorganic growth.
Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder and Group CEO, ixigo, calls the last 18 months a rollercoaster patch for the travel industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He says despite the demand dwindling because of the nationwide lockdown and unlock processes, the company was able to sustain, and the IPO would be the best outcome for its growth.
“We think that a capital-efficient story that has the ability to continue growing for decades, given that we are targeting the next billion-user story, where leisure travel hasn’t started yet,” says Aloke, on Tier II and III cities markets, where ixigo has a dominant presence.
ixigo was launched in 2007 by Aloke Bajpai and Rajnish Kumar to provide an aggregation of travel bookings, tracking of trips and availability of transportation in one platform. Ahead of its IPO, ixigo has also made two major acquisitions — Abhibus and Confirmtkt — to further bolster its travel-based offerings.
Commenting on the acquisitions, Aloke says these companies have stellar teams that are capital efficient and have managed to turn profitable despite the loom of the COVID-19 pandemic. These companies, Aloke adds, fit well with ixigo’s strategy to go after emerging travellers who will be experiencing travel for the first time.
The Indian travel industry has been in an economic slump since the government restricted travel to contain the spread of the virus. Recovery for this sector begins to look promising as leisure travel slowly is being considered by people.
“Vaccination is going to be the key element that will create comfort in the minds of travellers,” explains Aloke. He says that travel for essential purposes is the main travel currently, and leisure travel is yet to start full-fledged.
For ixigo, the plan ahead is to grow organically and inorganically. It will be enhancing monetisation from its existing verticals and also look at adding more ancillaries. In fact, the company will partner with services that align with its strategy.
As for its investments and acquisitions, ixigo will be looking at brands that will potentially add more value to the company.