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Each week we round up travel startups that have recently received or announced funding. Please email Senior Travel Tech Editor Sean O'Neill at email@example.com if you have funding news.
This week, travel startups announced more than $13 million in funding.
>>Itilite, a travel management company for mid-sized and large multinationals, has raised $13 million in a Series B investment round.
Greenoaks Capital and Vy Capital led the round. Previous investor Matrix Partners India also participated.
Itilite, founded three years ago in Bengaluru, helps corporate employees book flight, rail, and hotel reservations.
But unlike some players like TripActions, TravelPerk, and Travelstop, Itilite focuses on large players who, in the Indian context, spend at least $20,000 a month on travel. Clients include Jockey, RPG Group, Toshiba JSW, Ola, and Swiggy.
“For large companies, the big problem is to gain control of travel spend,” said co-founder and CEO Mayank Kukreja.
“Typically, when managers want to cut costs, they will create broad-brush rules like ‘never stay in hotels that are more expensive than three-star’ or ‘no travel for the next three months,” Kukreja said. “But these rules aren’t efficient or humane and may not work in different contexts. You might want more leniency for, say, a salesperson visiting a premier client in an expensive city.”
Itilite tries to provide granular control for rule setting that can be quickly adjusted, Kukreja said.
Similar to some other players like Rocketrip, Itilite offers incentives to coax workers to stay within a corporation’s budget and policy.
Itilite also tries to make the booking process easier for travelers. “When you search on Itilite for hotels, we usually push only three suggestions first, based on our analysis of the past spending by the company,” Kukreja said. “We’ve had an 85 percent accuracy in those suggestions, though customers can always click to see more expansive results. Our approach saves time.”
Kukreja isn’t fazed by the coronavirus crisis’s impact on travel. “Even if travel contracts overall for a long time, business travel will remain a large enough segment for us to dramatically take market share,” he said.
In the meantime, Itilite has to continue to support some business travelers who got stranded when the lockdown was declared and can’t yet get home.
In India, the company’s competitors include Yatra and traditional offline “travel desks” or agencies. Internationally, other competitors include TripActions, TravelPerk, Travelstop, and Salestrip.
Skift Cheat Sheet:
We define a startup as a company formed to test and build a repeatable and scalable business model. Few companies meet that definition. The rare ones that do often attract venture capital. Their funding rounds come in waves.
Seed capital is money used to start a business, often led by angel investors and friends or family.
Series A financing is typically drawn from venture capitalists. The round aims to help a startup’s founders make sure that their product is something that customers truly want to buy.
Series B financing is mainly about venture capitalist firms helping a company grow faster. These fundraising rounds can assist in recruiting skilled workers and developing cost-effective marketing.
Series C financing is ordinarily about helping a company expand, such as through acquisitions. In addition to VCs, hedge funds, investment banks, and private equity firms often participate.
Series D, E and beyond These mainly mature businesses and the funding round may help a company prepare to go public or be acquired. A variety of types of private investors might participate.