Mumbai-based Instant Hotels Around You Pvt Ltd, the company behind an online platform to book hotels at the last minute at discounted prices, has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding from VentureNursery, an angel-backed startup accelerator.
Investors who participated in the round include Amit and Arihant Patni, Anand Ladsariya, Arif Ali, Bharat Banka, Samir Shah, Neeraj Goenka, Ravi Kiran, Sanjay Mehta, Shravan Shroff, Vishal Maheshwari and Bhanu Chopra.
“We will use the funds to refine the product, expand our team and also to ramp up our marketing activities,” Harsha Nallur, co-founder of HotelsAroundYou told VCCircle. “We are also planning to expand operations to other cities including Pune, and launching Android and iOS mobile apps.”
The startup was founded late last year by Nallur, along with Mohsin Dingankar and Animesh Chaudhary. While Nallur holds an MBA degree from the Indian School of Business, Dingankar is a graduate from the University of California (San Diego). Their partner Chaudhary is an engineering graduate from Mumbai University.
HotelsAroundYou aims to make hotel booking easy for the increasing last minute traveller market. Launched to help both customers and hotels alike, the platform connects last minute travellers with hotels looking to sell their unsold inventory. It claims that the platform makes the booking process easy by featuring limited, location specific hotels across different categories in each city, easing decision-making at the last minute. In doing so, it creates a marketplace for hotels to fill last-minute rooms that would otherwise remain empty.
According to Nallur, the startup has already partnered with more than 60 per cent hotels in Mumbai alone. The site was launched earlier this year and the product is still in beta.
HotelsAroundYou is a graduate of VentureNursery’s fifth batch which was concluded in August this year.
“All of us have had unplanned itineraries at some point, be it a missed flight or an urgent meeting. The last thing you want to worry about at this point is a hotel. By providing location specific hotels with the best deals, we ensure that you can book on the go. With HotelsAroundYou, you get quality hotels, an easy booking experience and amazing deals on rooms that would otherwise go empty,” said Nallur.
Venture Nursery was established in March 2012 by angel investors Shravan Shroff, founder and former MD of Fame Cinemas; and Ravi Kiran, former CEO (Southeast & South Asia) of Starcom MediaVest Group and co-founder and managing partner of Friends of Ambition. VentureNursery conducts a minimum of two boot camps per year in Mumbai and targets to accommodate up to eight startups in each programme. At present, VentureNursery focuses on six sectors including media & entertainment, retail, e-commerce, consumer technology, education and cleantech.
VentureNursery has accelerated 14 startups to date, of which nine have secured seed funding including Oravel, Catapooolt, Klip.in, Interview Master, InvenZone, The Venturator, Peter’s Pan and SeekSherpa. The accelerators’ first investment was inOravel, which has pivoted from a short-stay accommodation marketplace to a branded marketplace for budget rooms called OYO Rooms.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)