Paving its path for the next phase of growth, Gurugram-based online travel startup HappyEasyGo Monday said it has raised USD 49.4 million in its Series B+ round from existing investors including Korea Investment Partners (KIP), Samsung Venture Investment Corporation (SVIC), 10 Fund, CVCapital, and Zero2IPO Venture, and Japanese venture fund M&S Partners.
The fresh investment will help the company to expand its operations, increase market share, and upgrade the existing products, founder and CEO Boris Zha said in a statement. The company has recently launched a hotel booking service as well.
“By the end of December, we expect our hotel business to be running over 3,000 bookings a day. India is the third-largest air traveling country in the world and we are confident to utilize the fresh funds towards gaining a commanding position in the cluttered online travel market in India,” Zha said.
The two-year-old startup has disrupted India’s USD 2 billion online travel market by wooing Indian middle class and business-travelers by providing the lowest priced deals. With a user base of over 10 million, the company claims it is the second-largest OTA for air ticketing.
“With its price optimization engine, HappyEasyGo can find the lowest point of real-time price in the market, so as to offer the lowest price among the whole industry to its customers. Fresh offers are consistently rolled out by the company,” a company statement said. “The deals brought by HappyEasyGo are perhaps the biggest reason the company has become a hit among Indian travelers in such a short time.”
HappyEasyGo’s rapid rise in its transactions coincides with the decline in Yatra and Cleartrip’s market share in the industry. Until 2017, Yatra and Cleartrip jostled with the market leader MakeMyTrip for the top position. However, it increasingly became difficult for the duo to compete with MakeMyTrip after it acquired its rival GoIbibo in late 2016. While Cleartrip later shifted its focus to the Middle East, Yatra is in the process of getting merged with software firm Ebix, whose remittance services subsidiary Ebix Cash runs online air and bus ticketing platform Sastiticket.com in India. The only company that rivals MakeMyTrip at present is Amsterdam-headquartered Booking.com.
In a media statement, the startup said, it “plans to utilize the fresh funds for strengthening its air ticket business and developing the hotel division in India.”
“With a strategy to maintain the lowest price for strengthening the ascendancy in high-speed growth of the air ticket business,” the company said, “it plans to accelerate the hotels vertical through its localization strategy as well.”
After two years of splurging money to gain market share, the company said it is planning “to reduce the overall customer acquisition cost” by partnering with brands like Samsung, VIVO, Transsion, Airtel Payments Bank, Oman Air, Ola Money, and MobiKwik so as “to reach out to a wide number of user base.”