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Travel firm Via.com sees churn at the top after acquisition

Travel firm Via.com sees churn at the top after acquisition
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Online-to-offline travel agency Via.com is witnessing churn at the top after its acquisition by US-based software firm Ebix Inc. late last year, said a report citing people in the know. 
Chief business officer Paroma Chatterjee and chief financial officer Sujit Naha are on their way out, The Times of India reported.

Ebix, which paid $75 million for the acquisition of Bengaluru-based Via, is looking to grow the company’s core payments and remittance business in the travel space, besides the insurance business. Ebix and BSE have signed a memorandum of understanding to start a joint venture for an insurance distribution network, added the report.

In October 2017, Ebix announced that it expected Via to generate around $33 million in GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) revenues in 2018, with approximately 30% operating margins.

Via.com didn't respond to email queries till the time of publishing this report.

Via.com, operated by Flightraja Travels Pvt. Ltd, was founded in 2007 by Vinay Gupta and Amit Aggarwal. A travel deals’ aggregator and ticket-booking site, it also sells holiday packages. The firm had raised first external funding worth $5 million from IndoUS Venture Partners (now Kalaari Capital) in 2007. That was followed by a $10 million investment by Sequoia Capital in January 2010.

Via’s distribution network encompasses over 85,000 agents in India, 14,700 agents in Indonesia, 9,900 agents in the Philippines, 600 agents in Singapore and 350 agents in the UAE and Oman.

In November 2017, venture capital firms Kalaari Capital and Sequoia Capital exited Via.com, with unimpressive returns after the portal was acquired by Ebix Inc.

While Via.com has grown steadily over the years, it still lags behind its rivals in terms of financials. Via.com’s net sales grew from Rs 24.3 crore in 2007-08 (since it raised its first external funding from Kalaari Capital) to Rs 247.19 crore in 2015-16. Its financials still lag behind those of other players in the space such as MakeMyTrip, which clocked net sales of Rs 1,918.81 crore in FY16.

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