Indian travel tech startups in focus as tourism come back

By TIN Media | India Published 1 month ago on 9 August 2022
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INDIA:

As business and leisure travel picks up globally with the easing of the coronavirus pandemic, venture capital firms are eager to support the expansion aspirations of travel tech businesses in India.

This year, big-name investors like Nexus Venture Partners, Matrix Partners, and Tiger Global are placing significant bets in the industry.

Spotnana, a travel-as-a-service platform that aids businesses and agencies in customizing bookings, made news late last month when it raised $75 million in funding, led by Durable Capital Partners LP and including previous backers.

Data from the research firm Venture Intelligence shows that four additional travel technology businesses in India have raised money so far this year.

These include TravClan, Headout, and Utility, which have amassed a total of $76 million. Samsung Ventures and Korea Investment Partners were among the investors who contributed to HappyEasyGo's unannounced funding round.

Industry estimates indicate that businesses spent more than $1.4 trillion on travel globally in 2019, and the market is rapidly returning to those levels.

In addition, leisure travel is on the upswing while pandemic-related hazards seem to be decreasing.

"There is suddenly a lot of interest again in the travel and hospitality industries after two and a half years of essentially nothing occurring. The fact that everyone is on the move serves as a glaring indication of this.

There is undoubtedly a very evident interest in travel startups and the travel technology industry as a result of this "revenge travel," "According to Kapil Chopra, creator of The Postcard Hotel and chairman of EazyDiner.

The previous president of Oberoi Hotels, Chopra continued, "There are many potentials to build new things around how people experience, and how travel, locations, and hotels influence their lives.

Co-founder and CEO of Spotnana Sarosh Waghmar echoed that sentiment and said: "Every year, hundreds of millions of people use the infrastructure that was set up in the 1960s and 1970s to make travel reservations. This outdated infrastructure discourages innovation. To give travelers everywhere freedom, ease, and trust, Spotnana is rewriting the infrastructure for the travel business."

The firm, which was founded in early 2020, shortly before the epidemic began, intends to use the money it just raised to accelerate the platform's development and add more staff.

The number of employees at the company has increased by more than 200 in the last year, and Waghmar expects this growth pace to continue.

Startups in the travel technology sector raised $1.08 billion in 2018, $295 million in 2019, and $553 million in 2020, but only $125 million in total in 2017.

Many of the agreements that were finalized in 2020 were already in the works when the COVID-19 problem first arrived in India, according to experts. Seven businesses collectively collected just $37 million during the first half of 2021, a significant decrease from the amount raised during the same period this year as the epidemic persisted and disrupted travel plans around the globe.

Ixigo, an online travel aggregator, received $53 million in capital from Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC last year, which was the highest deal.

It will take some time for the travel and tourism sector to fully recover after suffering losses over the past two years, according to analysts.
"The current focus is solely on survival because there has already been a significant amount of degradation. Startups are starting from a lower basis even though people have resumed flying because there wasn't much activity in 2020 and 2021 "a sector expert who wished to remain anonymous stated.

The sector has not gained much traction this year in terms of investor exits. Investors in six startups who had invested in private equity and venture capital in 2021 cashed out, totaling $196 million. In 2019, investors received $1.5 billion from three businesses, compared t


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