Leading online bus booking platform Travelyaari raises $7 million in Series B funding

Travelyaari, an online bus booking platform which leverages technology solutions to simplify and streamline bus ticketing processes, has announced the successful closure of its Series B investment round worth $7 million. Led by Gujarat Venture Finance Limited (GVFL), Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd (the Times Group) and other investors, the latest investment will be used to facilitate product development as well as business growth for Travelyaari.

A flagship product of Mantis Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Travelyaari has consistently provided real-time, cancellation-proof bookings with timely confirmations and assured refunds. The platform will be looking to use the funds raised to further augment its service network and increase the online penetration of bus bookings. More than 5000+ road travel service providers will be integrated with the platform, along with more channel partners and agents. Travelyaari will also be looking to increase its customer base by targeting the middle class segment across India. The company had previously raised a Series A investment of $3 million.

Speaking on the investment, Mr. Aurvind Lama Co-founder and CEO, Mantis Technologies Pvt. Ltd. which owns Travelyaari said, “Travelyaari was established as a platform that enables online bus ticketing processes through reliable services and end-to-end technology solutions for different players in the industry. Our products and services have witnessed great adoption in the country, both amongst travellers and bus service providers, owing to the convenience and comfort they bring. The latestinvestment into Travelyaari is yet another reflection of the company’s superior product and deep-rooted supply chain not only in Tier 1, but also in Tier 2 and 3 cities. We will be looking to utilise this fresh induction of capital to further strengthen our B2B & B2C offerings and to achieve greater business growth.”

In addition to its B2C bus ticketing service, the platform offers B2B solutions to nearly 2,000 bus operators through its Bus ERP product called BusCRS (www.buscrs.com) and is also the provider of the largest inventory distribution service to online and offline travel agents through its global distribution system, www.iamgds.com. Since its inception in 2007, Travelyaari has helped many small providers achieve computerisation and streamline their operations; the platform currently has 55% of the overall service provider base in India on the Mantis system doing business worth $450 million per Annum. Travelyaari has also provided technology solutions for State Transport Corporations like PUNBUS/ Punjab Roadways and PRTC. It is in talks with other State Transport Corporations for adoption of its technology solution.

Elaborating the reason behind the investment decision, Sankalp Bajpai, Spokesperson, GVFL, said, “In Travelyaari’s  unique approach, we saw the potential of changing the way bus tickets are bought and sold in India. In 2011, travel e-commerce had the biggest share in Indian e-com market due to an increase in air and train ticket sold online. We believe that bus tickets are no different and customers would like to buy them on-the-go as well. Another thing that really excited us as investors is its business model, which is collaborative and helps all stakeholders, be it bus operators, OTAs & Agents, or customers. We believe that such a model has the potential to scale quickly, which is why we have chosen to invest in the company.”

Rahul Bhutiani, Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd, said, “Organising the unorganised bus operators industry, creating digitalized  bus ticket inventory and then leveraging it to run a GDS business as well as a B2C portal is no easy task. Despite the challenges, the dedication and effort of the team behind Travelyaari has resulted in an exponential growth for the platform. Its success is a testament to the viability of its business model in the Indian market, and gives us confidence as investors to support the company’s continued growth through capital investment.”

“Our investors unanimously believed in our potential to build a robust, digitalised bus ticketing business model, and the scalability, sustainability and profitability of the platform have convinced them to fund our vision. We will now be looking to build a highly collaborative platform to deliver end-to-end experience to the end-consumer through Travelyaari, and bus service providers’ and agents’ outlets” added Aurvind Lama.

A pan-India brand with a monopoly in North and West India, where it holds a 90% share of the inventory, Travelyaari is looking to expand its present geographical footprint. The platform will also be looking to build an ecosystem around road travel by including pickup and drop services, food, and lodging to its platform offerings in the near future.

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