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MakeMyTrip announces $15M Innovation Fund for travel technology startups

makemytripOnline travel agent MakeMyTrip has set up a $15 million Innovation Fund for investing in early-stage companies in the travel technology space, with a special focus on mobile and IP-based companies, and explore M&A opportunities. The company said this was inline with its inorganic growth strategy. The formation of this Investment Committee has been approved by the MakeMyTrip Board, and comprises of MakeMyTrip founder Deep Karla and co-founders Rajesh Magow and Keyur Joshi and three other members.

It’s worth noting that in March the company had proposed a fresh sale of 4.5 million ordinary shares on NASDAQ worth about $111.9 million. The company had said that the net proceeds would be used to expand its business by acquiring or investing in strategic business or assets that compliment its service. However, it had noted that the company hadn’t yet entered any such agreement for acquisitions or investments.

MakeMyTrip had previously acquired the entire equity interest in EasyToBook.com for around $5 million, in February this year. The acquisition was to strengthen its travel technology stack and improve its hotel offerings in Europe. Earlier, MakeMyTrip and VC fund SAIF Partners had acquired majority stake in travel meta search engine iXiGO for $18.5 million.

The company had also acquired South East Asia-focused Hotel Travel Group for $25 million, and acquired a majority equity interest in Thailand-based hotel aggregator ITC Group for $3.4 million, in November 2012. In February 2011, the company acquired Singapore-based Luxury Tours and Travel Pte Limited for over $3 million, and had entered into a shareholders agreement and share subscription and purchase agreement to acquire Delhi-based MyGuestHouse in November 2011.

Finances: In its quarterly report in July, the company had reported losses of $3.96 million, a significant improvement over its $9.1 million loss the same quarter last year. The report also revealed that Hotel and Packages revenues surpassed Air ticketing revenues for the company, as the contribution of hotel and packages segment to MakeMytrip’s overall revenues was at 50.41% this quarter, up from 41.75% in the same quarter last year and 39% in the previous quarter, a clear indicator as to why the company is so interested in investing in the travel technology space.

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Other funds for startups

– Earlier this week, The Economic Times reported that Snapdeal promoter Jasper Infotech is in the process of setting up a mobile-focused technology incubator and seed fund. The incubator is expected to begin operations within the current fiscal year.

– After raising $1 billion in July, Flipkart CEO Sachin Bansal had said that part of the funds would be used for acquisition in the fashion, robotics, mobile apps and wearable segments space among others.

– Mobile advertising network InMobi had introduced a $25 million Indie game developers fund for game developers, although instead of a regular corporate investment fund it was more an initiative to increase its game developer base by providing advisory services.

One97 Communications, a mobile value added services company, and one of its investors, had partnered to commit a $100 million investment for co-investing in mobile value added service companies.

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