Reliance Capital, TV-18 and California-based venture fund Norwest Venture Partners (promoted by venture capitalist Promod Haque) have come together to form Yatra Online. The new online travel company, Yatra.in, which is touted as the first online and centralised travel services company for the Indian market, will start its operations in the first half of 2006.
NRIs Dhruv Shringi and Manish Amin, the founders of Yatra, have a vast knowledge and experience in the travel industry. Most recently, both the founders worked together to help build and manage one of Europe’s largest online travel businesses, Ebookers Pic, which was recently acquired by travel giant Cendant Corporation for $410 million.
Yatra will help businesses and consumers to book airline, railway and bus tickets and reserve hotel rooms and car rentals by calling Yatra’s call centre, or by going to the website. Yatra will provide travel-related information, pricing, availability and reservations for airlines, hotels, railway, buses and car rentals across 5,000 destinations in India, the company said in a release.
Yatra’s multi-language customer service centre will enable business and family/leisure travelers to make well-informed and cost effective bookings 24 hours a day or night through its online, call centre and mobile support. Yatra customers will benefit from first priority booking and customised travel packages and deals for multiple large to small hotels, airlines, railways, buses and car rentals at the lowest prices, as a result of strategic relationships with the leading travel suppliers.
Speaking on the JV, Haresh Chawla, CEO, TV-18 and Yatra board member, said, “What we have done for delivering the latest news and information to Indian consumers is the same paradigm shift we believe Yatra will bring to today’s business and vacation travelers. Investing in Yatra is an extension of our vision for the Internet, as we extend transaction services to our audience.”
“We are very excited about our investment in Yatra and the market opportunity the company has targeted. Internet penetration in India is only in its infancy and investing in companies with sound business models that leverage the Internet to reach today’s consumers is a growing trend for our firm,” said Promod Haque, managing partner of NVP and board advisor to Yatra.
“We are delighted to partner with NVP to back Yatra’s strong management team in fulfilling every Indian’s dream of easy, affordable travel by improving the entire Indian travel experience,” a Reliance Capital spokesperson said.