Mumbai-based Instant Hotels Around You Pvt Ltd, which operated the HotelsAroundYou online platform that allowed room bookings at the last minute, has ceased operations, a person directly aware of the development told VCCircle.
The company had stopped functioning in the latter half of 2016, although the timeline is not clear, the person cited above said. The company’s website was defunct and the mobile app was not working when an attempt was made to install it from the Android play store.
The company shut down as it could not raise follow-on funding, the person added. HotelsAroundYou had last raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from VentureNursery in 2014, an angel-backed startup accelerator. The startup also graduated from the accelerator’s fifth batch.
Besides VentureNursery, prominent names including Amit and Arihant Patni and the then founder and chief executive of Aditya Birla private equity group Bharat Banka were also part of the investor mix among others.
“Travel is a very difficult space to survive. It has some really deep pocketed players, which makes it all the more difficult,” the person cited above said.
E-mail queries, phone calls and LinkedIn requests to the three co-founders, Mohsin Dingankar, Animesh Choudhary and Harsha Nallur, went unanswered at the time of filing this report.
While Nallur moved on to restaurant listing platform Zomato as assistant vice president of global growth, Dingankar is product manager at Sharjah-based premium travel firm Musafir.com, their LinkedIn profiles show. Choudhary, the third co-founder, is now part of a Mumbai-based brand engagement firm Studio Incandescence, which he founded. However, his LinkedIn profile shows that the venture was founded in 2011, two years before HotelsAroundYou was established.
Set up in 2013, HotelsAroundYou offered users two options: transit stay hotels during the day and night-use hotels. Transit stay hotels could be booked between 6 am and 6 pm for 4, 8 and 12 hours, while night-use hotels could be booked between 9 am and 2 am and were applicable for same day check-ins. The company worked on the principle of unsold inventory, where hotels offered unsold rooms at a discount to the company.
It is not clear in how many cities they were operational at the time of the shut down, older media reports indicate the company was operational at least in Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Delhi till 2015.
HotelsAroundYou joins the list of other players in the hotel accommodation space that recently folded. In February this year, Stayzilla, which raised close to $30 million from investors including Nexus Venture Partners and Matrix Partners, had said that it was halting operations and was pivoting to a business-to-business model.
In March, VCCircle had reported that RoomsTonite, which had raised $1.5 million, had shut shop following a failed fundraising bid.
However, another player in the last minute hotel booking space, NightStay.in, raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A funding from Indian Angel Network, LetsVenture and India Today’s founder editor Aroon Purie among others.
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