Media to raise $20 m next year

Published in Hindu BusinessLine

Oct 31, 2013


Chennai-based online bus reservation service portal, which raised $3 million (around Rs 18 crore) from Indventure, a Chicago-based investor last week, is planning to bring in another $20 million (around Rs 120 crore) next year.

The capital raised this month by the Chennai-based start-up, which operates from Bangalore and Hyderabad, is to be used for scaling up operations, increasing workforce and enhancing customer experience. A major chunk would be used to expand into other parts of the country.

Co-founder Karthi Easwaramoorthy told Business Line that with the market growing at a steady 30 per cent every year, the company was keen to shore up a sizeable share of the Rs 30,000-crore online bus ticket booking market. “By the year-end, we are expecting to do a Rs 100 crore turnover,” he said.

TicketGoose previously raised $1 million (around Rs 6 crore) in 2012, from US-based angel investors. “Our first investment came in from angel investor and former Gums India CEO R. Narayanan, and a group of other investors based in the US. We currently have 20,000 buses and a pan-India presence, and are keen to expand in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and in the western part of Gujarat,” he said.

Stating that the online booking market was growing in leaps and bounds due to the penetration of Internet and broadband across the country, Easwaramoorthy said a key differentiator of TicketGoose was the use of its Hipmunk style user interface on the site, “which is designed to appeal visually and keep the text as minimal as possible”.

“All rival bus portals like Redbus, Travelyaari, and Abhibus have a text heavy site. The Hipmunk visual representation is a frontrunner in how we show the result to the customer, and the visual reference in the ticket. Hipmunk is unique in the simplicity of the booking process and the visual representations of itinerary details it employs,” he added.

Speaking about the market potential, he added, “Online portals such as ours and Redbus, Travelyaari and Ticketgroup, own less than 5 per cent share of the online segment. Even today, 95 per cent of the market consists of people who buy their tickets in the traditional way. This gives an idea about the high potential and revenue generator of the medium,” he added. Set up in 2007 by Karthi Easwaramoorthy, Arun Athiappan and Vasudevan Ramasamy, the trio “burnt the initial capital of Rs 30 lakh immediately”.