mygolaTravel planning website Mygola has raised $1.5 million as Series A funding led by Helion Venture Partners. Ashish Gupta from Helion Venture Partners has joined the board of the company.

The company’s existing investor Blumberg Capital had also participated in this round. Livemint reports that the funds will be used to fund expansion plans in the U.S. The company had previously raised $1 million from DaveMcClure’s 500 Startups, Blumberg Capital and other angel investors.

Mygola helps travelers plan their travel by aggregating information related to any destination from across the web. Mygola’s website has also been recently revamped. With Twitter integration showing error, I had to sign up on the website using Facebook. On sign in, the website asks you to enter the destination. The website then asks the user to set the duration of the trip, themes like beach, shopping, food & wine, wildlife etc and places.  Although the destination entered was Andamans, the search results were all for Thailand.

Once the filters are set, the website shows a list of itineraries that other travelers have had in the past traveling the same destination. Users can either choose from that list or create an itinerary from scratch. The window to create custom itineraries did not recognize Andaman & Nicobar islands nor Havelock Island as a city. So I chose  Agra instead. Once the destination and the duration was set, the website comes up with options for places to see, stay, eat and go shopping from which a possible itinerary with places allocated for each day of your stay is created. Once you are sure of the trip, you can book for the trip as well based on budget.

What worked? The revamped website definitely has a good user interface experience. It seems quite smooth and pleasing to the eye.

What could be better? Good design and UI can take a travel planning website only that far. It requires good amount of quality information. As a traveler, if I can’t find information on a popular Indian beach destination – Andaman & Nicobar Islands, then it seems that the website is inadequately equipped to help serious travelers. Besides, the options for restaurants and places to stay provided for Agra were limited and expensive 4 or 5 star hotels. The results were provided without taking into consideration the traveler’s budget which is a crucial element while making custom itinerary. The website asks for the budget much later only while booking my trip. Budget should be one of the first filters that should be available to the traveler.

Other developments in this sector

Social travel marketplace Touristlink had recently raised undisclosed amount of seed funding from the African accelerator 88mph.ac and a group of private investors.

Stayzilla, a hotel booking site, had raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Matrix Partners, in return of a minority stake in the company.

Bangalore based Thrillophilia, a experience travel marketplace, had raised $200,000 in angel funding led by Hyderabad Angels with participation from iLabs Venture Capital Fund, Navlok Ventures and Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE-IIMA)

Earlier in July 2013, Online travel agency Via.com’s co-founders, Vinay Gupta and Amit Aggarwal had launched Tripfactory Pte Ltd, which runs travel related siteTripfactory.com. According to the website, the company will provide a search engine for travel related content on the web.

Some of the other players in the travel planning space include TripAdvisor, MustSeeIndia, Ixigo, TripIt, among others.