Exclusive: Luxury hotel aggregator Icanstay.com raises more angel funding
Luxury hotel aggregation startup Icanstay.com has raised more angel funds worth $200,000 (Rs 1.3 crore) from Manoj Prasad, executive chairman at Singapore-based venture capital and management advisory firm MP Morgan Capital Partners Pte. Ltd.
Icanstay.com co-founder Puneet Gupta told TechCircle that the funds will be used to expand the team and improve the mobile app.
The angel funding comes four months after the startup raised $347,810 (Rs 2.25 crore) from Prasad, who picked 6.54% stake in the company as part of the transaction, going by VCCEdge, the data research platform of News Corp VCCircle. At the same time, Icanstay.com signed an ad-for-equity deal with HT Media Ltd. Under ad-for-equity deal, a media house promotes a company through advertising (and other ways) in return for a stake.
The voucher-based portal operated by Delhi-based First Time Travellers Ltd was launched in February last year by Avneet Soni and Gupta, who is operating chief.
Through the portal, customers can purchase a voucher worth Rs 2,999 (inclusive of Goods and Services Tax) for a stay in a four-star or five-star hotel for a certain period. Currently, the startup claims to be present in 42 cities and more than 150 luxury hotels, and plans to expand to 100 cities in the next six months. The vouchers that it offers are valid for 11 months as well as refundable and extendable.
As part of its business model, Icanstay.com acquires unsold rooms from luxury hotels and offers them to customers.
The voucher price of Rs 2,999 remains unchanged, irrespective of season and city.
Since its launch in February 2017, Icanstay.com claims to have over 500,000 unique visitors, 22,000 registered users and sales of over 5,000 vouchers so far.
Deals in hotel aggregation space
Apart from Icanstay.com, aggregators in the space catering to other hotel segments have also raised funds in recent times.
In November last year, Bengaluru-based MiStay Hospitality Pvt. Ltd, which runs hotel reservations startup MiStay, had raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Axilor Ventures and a group of angel investors.
In September last year, budget hotels marketplace Oyo raised $250 million (Rs 1,600 crore) in a Series D round led by existing Japanese investor SoftBank Group Corp.
In July last year, Gurugram-based Casa2 Stays Pvt. Ltd, which operates budget hotel aggregator FabHotels, raised $25 million (Rs 161 crore) in a Series B round led by Goldman Sachs Investment Partners.