Travel-tech startup ExploreLifeTraveling India Pvt. Ltd has raised its first external round of funding from a clutch of investors, a top company executive told VCCircle.
The seed round saw the participation of Mekin Maheshwari, former head of engineering and chief people officer at Flipkart, former Yahoo and Amazon executive Bharat Vijay, former Facebook and Zynga executive Krish Seshadri, and former Google executive and Infoworks founder Amar Arsikere.
A clutch of angels from Harvard Angels, Cisco, Intel, Qualcomm and Oracle also contributed to this round.
According to co-founder and CEO Vikram Kumar, the startup secured a little less than $500,000 (Rs 3.22 crore). He, however, refused to give the exact amount.
ExploreLifeTraveling has close to 2,000 listings on its platform, and claims to clock 25-30 bookings per day. The new capital will be used to develop the platform, build the product, and hire more people.
“We only provide homes for accommodations. We want people to live with the locals and live the local way (of life). In India, the concept of homestay is a semi-commercial venture. But in our case, it is not so. We are solving the trust issue, where people open up their houses,” said Kumar. The company has not got into hotels, resorts or serviced apartments.
The US- and India-based company was founded in 2015 by Kumar and Rohit Suri, who is chief technology officer at ExploreLife.
Kumar is an alumnus of the University of Texas at Austin, US, and had previously worked as the tech lead at Cisco. He also had a stint in MobileIron, which went public in 2014. Suri worked with Airespace, which was acquired by Cisco for $500 million.
The startup has a team of five. It claims its gross revenue has grown 20 times in the past year and the number of paying customers rose eight times.
Travel-tech is emerging as one of the most favourite sectors for investors of late.
Recent deals in the online travel services segment include last month’s $330 million funding round for Nasdaq-listed MakeMyTrip Ltd that was led by South African technology group Naspers and Chinese travel firm Ctrip.com, among others.
Yatra, another online travel agency, had previously entered into a reverse merger agreement with US-based special purpose acquisition company Terrapin.
In March, Gurgaon-based Le Travenues Technology Pvt. Ltd, which runs online travel search engine ixigo, had raised $15 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital.
In February, Bangalore-based experiential travel startup Wandertrails Services Pvt. Ltd had raised $1 million in seed investment from Earlsfield Capital, a UK-based venture capital firm of entrepreneurs-turned-investors.