Bus ticketing portal TicketGoose.com, run by Chennai-based Efficsys Infotech India Pvt Ltd, has raised $800,000 (approx. Rs 4.5 crore) from unnamed US-based angel investors. The funding will enable the company to strengthen its B2B positioning and help streamline its customer acquisition plans for B2C offering, according to a statement.
Set up in 2007 by Karthi Easwaramoorthy, Arun Athiappan and Vasu Ramasamy, TicketGoose offers online booking facility, as well as information on pricing and availability, and covers around 4,500 destinations across southern India. The company posted a turnover of around Rs 50 crore in FY12 and is targeting Rs 125 crore for FY13, Easwaramoorthy, co-founder and director of TicketGoose, told Techcircle.in.
But how did the trio start the venture? Easwaramoorthy knew Athiappan from college days and Ramasamy was his neighbour when he was working in the US. All three got together and decided to launch TicketGoose as they faced a lot of difficulty in booking bus tickets and spotted an opportunity in this space.
According to Easwaramoorthy, TicketGoose does 4,000-5,000 ticket bookings a day. Ask him about the competition and he is quick to reckon Bangalore-based redBus as its biggest competitor. “We are next to redBus, but I would like to state that we have a bigger inventory (more bus operators) than any other bus ticketing portal in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
Easwaramoorthy also said that the money raised would be mostly utilised to enhance technology, B2B expansion and customer acquisition for B2C services. TicketGoose will be looking to raise another round of funding early next year and will be targeting around $5 million. The company claims to have a valuation of $7 million, post the current funding.
Online bus ticketing has been garnering a lot of interest lately. Other popular players in this segment include Bangalore-based redBus and Hyderabad-based AbhiBus. Recently, redBus has announced its interest to acquire offline bus ticketing companies in Singapore and Malaysia. Founded in 2005, it is probably the oldest of the lot and has also gained a lot of traction. redBus had sold around 50 lakh tickets last year, which essentially means the company is selling 13,000 bus tickets a day on an average.
We have also found redBus to be most user-friendly (as far as user interface is concerned) but TicketGoose is not lagging behind either. Both companies offer cash on delivery but COD is not yet available on the AbhiBus site.
Watch this space to know more about upcoming developments.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)