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Who knew that 2021 would be the year of travel IPOs?

Ixigo, an online travel and transit booking app, has filed papers with Indian regulators to raise $200 million (1,600 crore rupees) via an intital public offering.

The Gurgaon-based online travel company on Thursday revealed its plan to issue new shares worth nearly $100 million (750 crore rupees) and sell equity shares of a little more than $100 million from existing shareholders, the papers said

MakeMyTrip, India’s largest online travel group, sold its stake in the startup, the company revealed in financial filings this week. The founder of MakeMyTrip, Deep Kalra, has resigned from Ixigo’s board. MakeMyTrip Group received $33 million, net of transaction costs, for its investment stake. That was approximately eight times the value of its original $4.8 million investment.

Currently, cofounder and CEO Aloke Bajpai holds a 9.18 percent stake in the firm, co-founder and chief product and technology officer Rajnish Kumar holds 8.79 percent, SAIF Partners owns 23.97 percent, and Micromax has a 7.61 percent stake in the firm, formally known as Le Travenues Technology. Each of those shareholders, who together currently hold 49.55 percent of the company, will give up some equity to raise cash for the business.

ixigo cofounders aloke bajpai

Ixigo’s co-founders CEO Aloke Bajpai (left) and chief product and technology officer Rajnish Kumar at the company’s Gurgaon, India, headquarters. Source: Ixigo.

New Phase for Ixigo

GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, led a round announced last month of $53 million in funding.

Ixigo began in 2007 as a price-comparison, or metasearch, engine. It now lets travelers book trains, flights, intercity buses, hotels, and cabs, while also providing research tools.

But rail has been the company’s most recent engine of growth. The startup’s diversification into domestic travel and commuting made it more stable during the crisis, and the company didn’t lay off any workers in the pandemic.

Ixigo turned modestly profitable during the 12 months ending in March 2021.

Its app continues to be used by millions of Indians every day, the company said. It had a 42 percent market share of consumer-facing booking channels for train ticketing in India in the first half of this year, according to India’s state railway.

This month the startup acquired bus focused app AbhiBus. The companies didn’t disclose the value of the sale, paid for with a mix of cash and Ixigo stock as consideration. Ixigo is planning additional mergers and acquisitions.

In 2014, Ixigo’s co-founders tweaked the business model, launching a separate app for information on intercity trains in India. It later added ticketing for trains plus cross-selling for buses, cabs, hotels, and flights.

Since around 2017, Ixigo’s rail app has crowdsourced intel about millions of cell towers in the country and then triangulated where any given mobile device user was in relation to those points based on the last-received signal travel utility tools and services developed using in-house proprietary algorithms and crowd-sourced information.

The company has since made a similar offering for intercity bus service. with information such as bus running status. It has also offered destination content and travel alerts.


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Tags: india, ipo, ixigo, metasearch, online travel agencies, startups

Photo credit: The City Palace in Udaipur, India. This week, travel startups announced more than $95 million in funding. Ixigo, Exoticca, MisterFly, and Mototourismo gained. Ninara / Flickr / Creative Commons

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