March 30th 2011: Via, a travel services company that follows a hybrid online+offline sales model, is reportedly planning to raise $100 million from VC and PE investors, according to The Wall Street Journal, as a lead up to what the Via’s CEO will be a $1 billion IPO in the next 18-24 months. The $1 billion valuation would be essentially leading from MakeMyTrip’s blockbuster IPO last year, wherein it’s market cap increased to over a billion dollars. We might just see more fund raising or IPO filings, because we’re coming off what is typically the best quarter for the travel sector – the October-December quarter. Via was previously known as FlightRaja.
Last year, the Via received an investment of $10 million from Sequoia Capital through its holding company FlightRaja Travels. Via claims on its website that the company registers an annual sales revenue of $500 million (Rs 2250 crore) and has 50,000 partners across 1700 cities. Its primary focus is the B2B domain and it targets suppliers, travel agents and tour operators, in addition to corporate clients.
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.
- 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.
It also offers a membership and rewards program on its network in partnership with McDonalds, INOX and Shopper’s Stop, among others. It also powers web store-fronts for e-ticketing portals.
On its website, Via claims to have a retail network in over 1700 cities, and that it offers bus ticketing for over 1000 routes; earlier this year, it introduced holiday packages. Via claims on its website that in three years of operations, it reached revenues of close to $500 million, though it doesn’t quite specify how it accounts for its sales: we would assume that this isn’t the net revenue (i.e. revenue less service cost), which would typically be a fraction of this. MakeMyTrip, for example, in FY10 reported total revenue (less service cost) of $40.3 million in FY10.
Update: Financial Performance
As per filings made with India’s Registrar of Companies by Flight Raja Travels Private Limited, it’s income from operations for the financial year ending 31st March 2010 was Rs. 143.25 crore and Other Income Rs. 3.7 crore. The company reported a Profit before tax of Rs. 19.5 crore, and a Profit After Tax of Rs. 12.79 crore.
In terms of segment revenue, Via reported revenue from Air Travel at Rs 134 crore for the year (segment results at Rs 28.54 crore), from Railways at Rs 96.29 lakh (segment results at Rs. 62.66 lakh), and Rs 8.28 crore from ‘Others’ (segment results at Rs 1.35 crore).