Handset maker Micromax invests in online travel search engine ixigo

Home-grown handset and tablet manufacturer Micromax Informatics has made an undisclosed investment in Delhi-based Le Travenues Technology Pvt Ltd,  which runs the online travel search engine

This investment is part of Micromax’s foray into application services and will give ixigo a reach of over 30 million incremental users in the next year, as per a press statement.

Ixigo will use the money for expanding its product and technology team. It will also add 25,000 small and mid-sized travel service providers to its marketplace offering, the company said.

“Our vision is to seamlessly integrate innovative services into smart devices to create an ecosystem that is valuable for our users. We are really impressed with ixigo’s talented team and its mobile technology. We look forward to working closely with them to build on-demand and one-click travel experiences for Micromax consumers,” said Rahul Sharma, co-founder, Micromax Informatics.

Sharma indicated that the company would announce more such partnerships over the next few months to accelerate its journey into services.

Micromax had announced last month that it will be making investments of $0.5-20 million in over 20 startups over the next 12 months.

In line with this strategy, Micromax has also set up an M&A team which has been actively sourcing and working with startups across Silicon Valley, Europe, Israel and India.

Aloke Bajpai, co-founder and CEO, ixigo, said: “This partnership with Micromax, the leading smartphone OEM in India, will strengthen our market leadership in mobile travel services for middle class users. We expect to quadruple our mobile user-base in 12 months.”

Founded by Rajnish Kumar and Bajpai in 2007, ixigo provides search, aggregation and curated travel content across hundreds of travel sites, allowing travellers to access relevant travel information.

In 2011, the company had raised $18.5 million in funding from SAIF Partners and NASDAQ-listed OTA MakeMyTrip. It competes with players such as Wego, Kayak, Skyscanner and others.

In April, ixigo had launched a new app named ‘ixigo cabs’ which aggregates cab information and helps Indian travellers find cabs around them anywhere in India. Earlier this year, it also revamped its trip planner product by adding a slew of features, including Google Street View, location-based search and user-generated ratings and reviews.

Recently, ixigo roped in former HolidayIQ official Manivel Kulandaivelu as VP, travel marketplace and erstwhile Sify's national head ad sales Arivartan Kukreti as part of its leadership team.

In May, Micromax had made an undisclosed investment in Caeruz Ventures Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore-based firm behind health & fitness app HealthifyMe.

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