TravelTriangle raises $12M to digitize India’s travel bookings

TravelTriangle, a startup that is digitizing travel agencies and travel bookings in India, has raised a $12 million Series C round led by Fundamentum.

The startup operates like a travel booking platform to allow holidaymakers to choose and secure their travel plans online. It also works with offline travel agents to help them offer services, such as tailoring a trip, to customers as they do when they walk into their offices in person. The company also offers a suite of back-office services designed for agencies to help bring them on to its platform and generate additional revenue.

The deal marks the first investment from Fundamentum, a new $100 million fund established by Nandan Nilekani, a co-founder and the former CEO of $33 billion IT services giant Infosys, and Helion Ventures partner Sanjeev Aggarwal.

When the fund launched last July, Nilekani told TechCrunch it is aimed at turning promising Indian startups into unicorns. Notably, Nilekani confirmed that Fundamentum has looked over some 50 deals before electing to back TravelTriangle.

Fundamentum led the round — and may perhaps hog the limelight a little given the circumstances — but the firm was joined by existing TravelTriangle backers SAIF Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and RB investments who also took part.

TravelTriangle closed a $10 million Series B in February 2017, since then it has seen its site traffic jump from two million to 2.5 million per month, while it has grown the number of active travel agents on its platform to “close to 700.”

Sankalp Agarwal, TravelTriangle’s CEO and one of three co-founders behind the business, told TechCrunch that the money will be spent on product R&D. In particular, he said, a recommendation engine is being developed that will help customers get holiday ideas based both on their own history and the type of trips and destinations that other customers who are similar to them have taken.

On that front, TravelTriangle is also working to broaden its selection of destinations that it offers from the current total of 65. That means finding new partners outside of India.

Agarwal said, too, that a chunk of the new capital will go towards marketing campaigns aimed at growing Travel Triangle’s brand and generating awareness among consumers.

He said there’s no immediate plan to focus on expanding the business overseas. He did acknowledge, though that already the service has picked up some overseas customers — particularly in Sri Lanka — and that, as an online platform, it would be possible to replicate overseas.

Most likely, international expansion would be something that is two to three years away, he added, as Travel Triangle is aiming to reach double-figures of market share within India’s travel industry. Outbound tourism alone is tipped to reach $45 billion by 2022, according to research, while in-country travel accounts for the majority of trips.