India has quite an active online travel sector – over the past year it has seen a boycott by ticketing services over the low commissions paid by airlines and the compromise, the acquisition of Travelguru by Travelocity, a legal war between MakeMyTrip and Tata Sons, few airlines launched their own ticketing portal Rang7, more recently Travelocity accused the CEO of rival Cleartrip of data theft, and now news of online travel portal Via, previously called FlightRaja, receiving $10 million in funding is here.
Sequoia Capital has closed a $10 million infusion of funds into Via’s holding company FlightRaja Travels, reports VCCircle. The venture capital firm had previously funded the likes of IMI Mobile, BubbleMotion, Guruji.com and cyber cafe software company Ideacts Innovations. Read all our posts associated with Sequoia Capital here.
VIA, Selling Not Just Tickets But Platforms
Via claims on its website a turnover of over Rs. 1000 crore and a network of 20,000 travel agents: we are not sure how recent this data is. FlightRaja was instituted in 2007 and received $5 million in its first round of funding from NEA Indo-US Ventures. But Via is not just a flight, bus and holiday booking service – its larger business is B2B. It offers these platforms:
- iViaWorld.com – for suppliers, travel agents and tour operators to add their deals and discounts for hotels.
- ViaTravelNetwork – for automating processes of a large travel agent who has sub travel agents underneath.
- ViaStay – for hoteliers and resort owners.
- Viaforbus – enables operators of buses and coaches to go online and set up an inventory management system. This is similar to Redbus‘ platform Bus Operators Software System that offers a real-time, computerised reservation system. Last we heard, Redbus intended to distribute this software to 50 bus operators in India by March 2010.
- Viaforcorporate.com – for corporates to manage their employees’ travel and include company-specific policies.
- It also offers a white labeled web storefront for those who want to create their own e-ticketing site. For example, look at what Via has enabled: a company called Travel Link has used its platform to set up GareebRath.com.
Other Travel Agencies
In a segment that makes “excessively overcrowded” sound like an understatement, Via appears to have latched onto the B2B segment with its various platform offerings, which is their USP (unique selling point). Here’s a compilation of 18 OTAs we know:
- Cox & Kings’ ezeego1.co.in
- Hotmail founder Sabeer Bhatia’s Arzoo.com
- Rediff Faresearch
- Times Internet Travel
- Yahoo Farechase
- Bing’s Farecast
- Zoomtra (Smile Interactive)
- Meratrip shut down (More at Pluggd.in)
- Travel Chacha