Rivergate Capital backs heli-tourism startup GoChoppers

GoChoppers Services Pvt. Ltd, a startup that provides luxury helicopter tourism services, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Rivergate Capital, the company’s founder told VCCircle.

The startup is spending the capital raised on building its technology infrastructure and marketing, said Puneet Bakshi, a former Indian Air Force pilot who set up the company earlier this year.

GoChoppers operates single-engine choppers and offers heli-tourism services to domestic and non-resident Indian pilgrims visiting popular pilgrimage sites. It also provides luxury business jet services to corporate clients and diplomats.

The company claims that at least 20,000 tourists have availed its services in the ongoing pilgrimage season. It covers popular pilgrimage sites like Vaishno Devi and Amarnath in Jammu and Kashmir, and the ‘Char Dham’ pilgrimage circuit in Uttarakhand that includes Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri shrines.

GoChoppers also offers packaged helicopter tours to popular tourist destinations in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

For its chartering business, GoChoppers has tied up with around 25 business jets and 40 helicopter operators from across the country.

Besides, the company is venturing into the high-end luxury tourism sector, primarily targeting international tourists and expats.

“We did a soft launch in February. We have leased helicopters and have inked partnerships with luxury hospitality providers and other operators. Next year, we are planning to acquire three-four machines,” Bakshi said. This service is scheduled to launch in November this year.

GoChoppers is developing a mobile app to enable users to book helicopters, jets and hotels on a single platform.

Bakshi said the mobile app will be launched in two months’ time.

The company is also in talks to raise $10-15 million within a year for its next phase of growth.

Bakshi said the firm is looking to enable international charter services to help tourists fly directly from overseas locations to Indian tourist spots and pilgrimage sites.

Currently, GoChoppers has offices in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi.

Formed in 2008, Rivergate Capital is a wealth management firm offering solutions for affluent families and institutional investors. The firm, headed by Milan Sharma, Gaurav Malik and Ashwani Singh, also runs a partnership fund from which it invests in startups. It has made investments in fintech and online education segments.

In the chartered jets segment, JetSetGo, which claims to be India’s first online marketplace for private jets, raised $1.9 million from investors led by Puneet Dalmia, managing director of Dalmia Bharat, in 2015. JetSetGo was founded in 2014 by Kanika Tekriwal and Sudheer Perla, and works with non-scheduled aircraft operators across the country.

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