Yatra raises $44M, India becoming hotbed of action for investors
Indian online travel agency Yatra has attracted a new round of investment worth $44 million from a string of US venture capital firms.
Yatra is one of the leading Indian OTAs alongside home-grown businesses MakeMyTrip and Cleartrip, with Expedia and Travelocity also operating in the country (see latest Hitwise India data for latest positions).
The company was launched in 2006 and has since grown to attract an average of $30 million revenue a month with a volume of 10,000 tickets and 350 hotel rooms sold every day.
Yatra claimed a gross turnover of $250 million in 2010. Its last investment round came it at around $32 million.
The company says the investment is likely to fund expansion of its hotels and holidays divisions, marketing in the next wave of Indian cities experiencing signs of growth in ecommerce and some acquisitions.
The investment round comes just days after US-based travel and expense management technology provider Concur took a $40 million stake in Cleartrip.
Rival agency MakeMyTrip hit the US public financial markets in the summer of 2010.
As well as this wave of interest from outside India, some believe there is certainly a lot more money beginnning to float around the industry.
Aaron Gowell, CEO of SilverRail Technologies but a founder of General Catalyst Partners in the US in 1998, says the wider investment market has “started to heat up” in recent months.
Venture capital companies are beginning to invest in strong brands with obvious areas of growth, including online travel agencies, he says.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.