Online travel search engine ixigo.com has strengthened its presence in the online taxi aggregation space by acquiring Square Hoot Hikes Pvt Ltd, the company behind inter-city cabs marketplace Rutogo, for an undisclosed amount.
The Rutogo team will join Delhi-based Le Travenues Technology Pvt Ltd (which runs ixigo) and scale the latter's cab aggregation app by building a marketplace for inter-city taxi owners and vendors, as per a press statement.
"Rutogo's team is passionate about the tourist taxis segment and they had made considerable progress in building a marketplace with nearly 100 taxi vendors across India within a few months of operation. This acquisition fits well with our overall strategy of providing comprehensive choice across intra-city and inter-city taxi booking options," said Aloke Bajpai, co-founder & CEO of ixigo.
"We will be launching outstation taxis in the coming weeks, and will also be opening up the cabs marketplace and partner with other booking apps in the inter-city taxis space shortly," said Bajpai.
Venus Dhuria, co-founder of Rutogo, said that the market potential for app-based taxi booking is estimated to be around $9 billion, majority of which is driven by inter-city cab bookings.
In April, ixigo had launched 'ixigo cabs', an app which searches through more than 250 offline taxi/auto providers and online cab aggregators for inter-city travel. ixigo claims that the app has been downloaded over 100,000 times, making it the fastest growing app within the company's portfolio.
Inter-city travel seems to be on the radar of several cab hailing providers. In May, Uber Technologies Inc, which runs a global cab hailing app, launched inter-city service between Mumbai and Pune. Notably, one of its two top competitors in India, Ola, had vacated the inter-city cab space earlier. Meru, however, offers both intra and inter-city cabs.
This is ixigo's second acquisition this month; it had acquired the intellectual property assets of Desi Backpacking Travelers Pvt Ltd, which runs budget traveler-focused online community IndianBackpacker.com, for an undisclosed amount.
Founded by Rajnish Kumar and Bajpai in 2007, ixigo provides search, aggregation and curated travel content across hundreds of travel sites, allowing travellers to access relevant travel information.
Recently, domestic handset manufacturer Micromax made an undisclosed investment in ixigo. In 2011, the company had raised $18.5 million in funding from SAIF Partners and NASDAQ-listed OTA MakeMyTrip. It competes with players such as Wego, Kayak, and Skyscanner.