After much speculation, Naspers subsidiary and Ibibo owner MIH India has confirmed that it has acquired Bangalore-based online bus ticketing portal redBus.in. Here is a look at the important events in redBus’s journey until now:
- August 2006: redBus.in was launched with a capital of Rs 5,00,000 and five seats from a single operator (via Rediff).
- Feb 2007: redBus raised its first round of funding of $1 million (Rs 3 crore) from SeedFund and undisclosed investors. SeedFund had invested $500,000 in the company while other investors accounted for the remaining $500,000 investment. (via The Economic Times).
- July 2009: redBus raised $2.5 million from Inventus Capital Partners, Seed Fund and other unnamed investors. Of this, SeedFund had invested $700,000 in the company. The company claims to have over 500 tie-ups with bus and tour operators for 5000 routes, across 15 Indian states primarily in South, West and North India.
- August 2009: redBus launches its ‘Software as a service’ product for bus operators called BOSS (Bus Operator Software Services), which now allows bus operators to manage their inventory in real time as well as manage bus schedules, allocate seats to specific agents or branch offices, manage ticket pricing on the service, route and date level and offer online booking on their website through their own payment gateway. redBus also rolls out another software service called Seat Seller, which allows online travel agents to aggregate and sell tickets across multiple bus operators.
- October 2010: redBus claims to sell around 5,000 tickets on a daily basis and claims to have 700 bus operators from 15 Indian cities onboard (via Rediff)
- May 2011: redBus raised $6.5 million from Helion Venture Partners, Inventus Capital and Seedfund. It claims to have clocked 3.5 million ticket bookings (via StartupCentral)
- June 2012: redBus claims to have broke even sometime in 2011 and is profitable. (via TechCircle)
- March 2012: Goa State Road Transport inks a tie-up with redBus to launch an online ticketing portal powered by redBus’s BOSS. This is the company’s first tie-up with a government owned bus service. (via Forbes India)
- July 2012: redBus inks a tie-up with Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC), following which its starts offering RSRTC bus tickets on the portal. The company claims to have sold more than 10 million seats and claims to have registered consumer base of 2 million, reporting an average growth rate of 250% during the last 5 years.
- July 2012: redBus plans International operations in Singapore and Malaysia and is apparently in talks with a few offline bus ticketing companies in Singapore and Malaysia. It also claims to have clocked 1 crore ticket bookings. (via TechCircle).
- February 2013: redBus launches its Android app, allowing users to search and book bus tickets form their mobile phones. It also introduces Virtual Bus Stop feature on its website, which allows users to search for their preferred boarding point on a Google map and view a 360 degree view of the boarding point.
- February 2013: redBus claims to have clocked $120 million in gross merchandise value and claims to have more than 1,000 bus operators onboard, of which more than 800 operators are using its BOSS product.
RedBus.in growth chart over last 6 years — basically, hard-core pr0n 4 VCs :) http://t.co/hNiBj3PTtC
— Dave McClure (@davemcclure) February 21, 2013
- March 2013: redBus is looking to raise $20 million in its next investment round and was apparently in the final stages of the transaction, as per a Business Standard report. The report also says that redBus has clocked net revenues of Rs 55 crore and a gross merchandise value of Rs 600 crore for the year and is expected to post a net profit of around Rs 2 crore for FY13.
- May 2013: redBus inks a tie-up with Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to sell KSRTC bus tickets on its portal. The company claims that it now has complete access to both state owned and private bus operators in Karnataka.
- Jun 17, 2013: Naspers subsidiary and Ibibo owner MIH Group is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire a controlling stake in redBus.in. The company claims to offer ticket inventory across more than 12,000 routes from more than 1,000 bus operators in 24 Indian cities.
- June 21, 2013: Ibibo Group confirms that it has acquired redBus and plans to operate it as a separate business in its travel portfolio which includes Goibibo and Travel Boutique Online. (via TechCrunch)
Other Players: Other Players in the bus ticketing segment include MakeMyTrip which acquired Ticketvala in Feb 2010, Yatra.com, Via.com, TravelYaari and TicketGoose among others.
Interestingly, redBus previously powered ticket booking for MakeMyTrip.com, Via.com and Yatra.com as of March 2010, as indicated by a Business Standard report.
While the redBus and MakeMytrip partnership lapsed after the latter acquired Ticketvala, its not clear if redBus still powers ticket booking for Via.com and Yatra.com, although a TechCircle report suggests that the partnership was still active as of August 2012.
We also noticed that Yatra no longer mentions bus booking on its portal, hence we are not quite sure if Yatra continues to offer bus booking service or it has shut it down.
So will Redbus be exclusively power GoIbibo from now on? That would leave room for others to come in.