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Via Acquires Morpheus-backed E-com Start-up LifeMojo

02 January, 2012

Flightraja Travels Pvt Ltd (Via), an online travel and deals site, has acquired three-year-old and Bangalore-based healthcare products e-tailer LifeMojo. The value of the deal could not be ascertained at the time of filing the article.

Incidentally, LifeMojo was co-founded by former Via executives Varun Gupta and Namit Nangia, along with Himangshu Khurana who was earlier with ngpay (JiGrahak).

Although there is no formal communication to the effect, going by LinkedIn profile updates of the co-founders, the deal could have happened in October last year. A company spokesman confirmed the deal but declined to give details as he was not the spokesperson.

While Gupta rejoined Via as its CTO, Khurana joined the company as head of e-commerce. Nangia, who has been CEO of LifeMojo (and earlier co-founded another firm called MyDuniya that shut down within two years of its launch in 2006), is apparently still pursuing his entrepreneurial calling.

The news was first flashed by Plugged.in that stated that LifeMojo co-founders were working on Via’s deal section.

LifeMojo counts among its investors Morpheus (earlier Morpheus Venture Partners), a start-up accelerator that focuses on working with early-stage tech ventures. It started as a healthcare services platform, but later became an e-commerce company dealing in healthcare and sportswear products.

Via On Expansion Drive

Via, backed by Indo US Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital, has raised $15 million so far and it has recently roped in John Kuruvilla as its chief marketing officer. Incidentally, Kuruvilla was the former chief of the e-com site Taggle that shut shop a few weeks ago.

Via has been on an inorganic growth path throughout. It acquired another Jalandhar-based travel agency, TSC Travel Services Pvt Ltd, for an undisclosed sum in November last year. This was the first acquisition by Flightraja, which was incorporated in 2007 as a B2B travel company and later launched the B2C travel site Via.com and, more recently, a daily deals site called Deals More.

In another development, Via has just launched a new service christened Mera Trip @ Mera Price (MTMP) that enables customers to quote or specify the price they are prepared to pay when submitting an offer for a particular leisure travel service (be it for flight, hotel or holiday package).

There is nothing unique about the concept, though. Earlier, atyourprice.in had tried to sell tickets through a reverse auction mode. Unlike that service, Via’s new service has a catch as consumers cannot choose their flight (airlines). And more importantly, they cannot choose the flight time either while putting in their bids. The bid is also non-refundable, which makes it a service meant for someone who is just concerned about the cheapest flight ticket on a specific day and is ready to travel at any time on the chosen day.

According to a senior executive dealing with the new service, flight details are kept under wraps to ensure that no other OTA can sell cheaper tickets. The service has gone online during the New Year weekend and Via claims that the traffic on the website has gone up 45 per cent.

This is a move to differentiate Via in a cluttered OTA market, ruled by bigger established players like MakeMyTrip, Yatra and Cleartrip. But whether it will enable Via to grab a piece of OTA market is going to be clear within a few months. Do you think consumers will bite?

 


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Via Acquires Morpheus-backed E-com Start-up LifeMojo

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