India’s TravelTriangle, a marketplace for finding and booking travel and holidays, has closed a $10 million Series B funding round.
The four-year-old company is focused on bringing India’s largely offline travel agency space, which is dominated by small and medium-sized companies, online. That’s to both help travel brokers reach larger audiences, and provide more travel options for India’s population — which is more than 1.2 billion in size.
Its online marketplace serves as lead generation for agencies, but beyond simply booking a package as you would on say Expedia, agencies liaise with customers to help tailor their trip to their specific needs. That’s much as they’d do if you walked into the front door of their office in person. Right now, it claims over 650 agents and in excess of 65 destinations.
This Series B round is led by Singapore-based RB Investments, with participation from existing investors SAIF Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners. SAIF led TravelTriangle’s $1.7 million pre-Series A in July 2014, while Bessemer led the $8 million Series A which closed in April 2015. The company initially bootstrapped itself but, as of today, TravelTriangle has raised around $20 million from investors to date.
Co-founder and CEO Sankalp Agarwal told TechCrunch that the site typically sees two million visitors per month, 50 percent of which is organic traffic. Those who do book trips typically spend $1,200, while two-thirds of trips are to overseas destinations, he added.
In an interesting insight into how emerging markets use the internet, Agarwal said that 60 percent of all traffic comes from mobile but 70 percent of payments are completed from a desktop device. So, phones and tablets are ideal for browsing, but people want to do full research before paying out their hard-earned cash.
Beyond making commission on deals sold, TravelTriangle is working to get its roots into agencies. It offers a suite of services to help manage those businesses, from handling operations, to analytics and finance. That’s a clever way to become an indispensable resource to agents, and thus secure their deals on its site — the dynamic recalls Practo, the well-funded health startup from India which too offers Saas products for healthcare practices in addition to a consumer-facing doctor-patient connector.
Agarwal said TravelTriangle plans to spend its Series B round expanding the number of deals on its site, working with more agencies and introducing more services for their businesses. He’s bullish on the future of online travel in India, thanks to the combination of growing smartphone sales and an increasing (and affluent) Indian middle class.
“Out of a billion population, there are 65 million passport holders in India who are potential travellers. In 2016, only 18 million were traveling outside the country, indicating outbound leisure holiday market is in its infancy in India,” said Bessemer’s Raghav Bahl in a statement.
“The outbound leisure market is estimated to be about $10 billion which conservatively set to double by 2020 and will continue to experience secular growth for sometime to come,” Bahl added.