NASDAQ-listed online travel services firm MakeMyTrip (MMT) has created an innovation fund worth $15 million (around Rs 90 crore), which will seek to invest in early-stage ventures operating in the travel and tourism space, with a focus on mobile and IP-based startups.
"This is an additional prong of our inorganic growth strategy by pursuing M&A opportunities in the travel technology space. We intend to purposefully go out and look for such companies and take early stage positions," Deep Kalra, founder and group CEO of MMT, said in a statement.
It is not immediately clear if the new fund will act as a traditional seed fund that will invest in firms for a minority stake, or it will look to emulate Info Edge (India) Ltd that has built on its own a slew of consumer internet properties such as Naukri.com,99acres.com and Jeevansathi.com. We have contacted Kalra for more details, and will update the post as soon as we hear from him.
MMT also said that its board has given approval to form an investment committee comprising six directors that include Kalra and other co-founders Rajesh Magow and Keyur Joshi.
Founded in 2000, MMT launched its India operations in 2005. The firm claims that its platform attracts over 8.3 million unique visits every month. MakeMyTrip has also established an offline presence through 60 stores across India. The firm reported a 36.3 per cent rise in its revenues less service costs or net revenues to $35.5 million for the first quarter ended June 30, 2014 over the year-ago period. Net revenue from the air ticketing business increased 15.6 per cent to $16.5 million. The number of air ticketing transactions too increased 16.1 per cent to 1.1 million after sliding for two preceding quarters.
Early this year, MMT bought the entire equity interest in a group of companies comprising the EasyToBook.com Group (ETB). In November 2012, MMT had acquired the Hotel Travel Group (HT Group) for $25 million.
Late last year, Mumbai-based mobile games developer and publisher Nazara Technologies launched a seed-stage fund focused on the gaming space. The fund will make investments in early-stage game developers, as well as other companies working in the gaming space, with a bias towards mobile and Indian developers working on both global and India specific themes.
One97 Communications, parent of Paytm, is also running a $100 million fund which invests across seed & early stages to growth stage companies focusing on location-based services, m-commerce, video, mobile apps and content aggregation services sectors.
Noida-based Info Edge, which runs multiple internet businesses, has also invested in consumer companies outside its network that include restaurant reviews portal Zomato.com and e-learning platform Meritnation.com. Info Edge has recently said it is looking to raise fresh funds worth up to Rs 750 crore ($125 million) through qualified institutional placement (QIP), which will be used to acquire companies, provide analytics to ensure smart buying through their portals, increase mobile traffic and build the brand. A part of the capital will also be used to further infuse capital into its existing portfolio firms.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)