Sealing its debut investment, growth-capital firm The Fundamentum Partnership has poured $12 million (Rs 78 crore) in holiday-packages marketplace TravelTriangle. The investment company, which led the Series C investment round in the firm, was floated by Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani and Helion Ventures co-founder Sanjeev Aggarwal.
TravelTriangle said the fresh funds would be invested in technology, especially artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics. Funds will also go to expansion plans and brand-building.
Nilekani said Fundamentum’s officials had met representatives of more than 50 companies before the growth-capital firm took its decision to invest in TravelTriangle.
TravelTriangle, founded in 2010 by IIT graduates Sankalp Agarwal, Sanchit Garg, and Prabhat Gupta, lets customers connect with local travel agents through its platform.
Co-founder Agarwal said the marketplace has been the fastest-growing holiday player with the highest Net Promoter Score, an index that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company's products or services to others.
TravelTriangle offers a SaaS-based CRM platform for travel agents to manage and analyse customer interactions and draw insights to improve customer retention and drive sales growth. SaaS is software as a service. CRM is customer relationship management.
The holiday packages marketplace, which has about 700 travel agents operating through its platform, claims some agents even derive 90% of their revenue from the site.
On the funding front, the company had raised $10 million in a Series B round led by Singapore-based RB Investments in February last year. Existing investors partook in the round. In July 2014, it had had secured pre-Series A investment of $1.7 million from private equity firm SAIF Partners. In April 2015, it got Series A financing worth $8 million from Bessemer Venture Partners.
TravelTriangle operates in online travel segment dominated by MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip, Yatra, and others. Last year, in the biggest-ever consolidation move in the online travel space in India, Nasdaq-listed MakeMyTrip agreed to buy Ibibo Group, which is co-owned by South African technology group Naspers Ltd and Chinese investment firm Tencent, in an all-stock deal.
Yatra had also entered into a reverse merger agreement with a US-based special purpose acquisition company, paving the way for a backdoor listing for a second Indian online travel agent in the US, after its peer MakeMyTrip.
Interestingly, Sanjeev Agarwal, who oversees a corpus of over $600 million at Helion Venture Partners, has also backed MakeMyTrip.
Fundamentum’s $100-million venture capital fund was launched in July last year. The firm, which is a scale-up platform for mid-stage tech companies, focuses on Series B and Series C rounds and invests $10 million to $25 million in each round.
The fund focuses on consumer technology businesses, particularly those that seek to solve unique Indian problems. It would also invest in enterprise technology and outsourcing companies serving global corporations.
Fundamentum’s team includes partner Ashish Kumar and associate vice-president Prateek Jain and chief financial officer Sanjay Chaturvedi.
Kumar, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur, previously worked as CEO at ClayRop Wellness and Kellton Tech Solutions Ltd. He is also an angel investor. Jain had earlier founded StayGlad, which was sold to Quikr. He has also worked at e-commerce firm Junglee.com and beauty commerce startup UrbanTouch. Chaturvedi is also the CFO at Helion. He previously worked at GE, PepsiCo and Amba Research.
World Bank’s private-sector investment arm, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Canada’s second-biggest public pension fund La Caisse de dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) are investors in the Fundamentum fund.
Nilekani has been an active investor and usually puts in $1-2 million in each startup he backs. He has invested in firms across sectors, including aerospace startup Team Indus, telecom startup Mubble, publishing startup Juggernaut, online fundraising platform LetsVenture and logistics startup Fortigo.
The key architect of the government’s Aadhar project, Nilekani, has also contested Lok Sabha elections and is an active philanthropist.
Besides MakeMyTrip, Agarwal has backed BigBasket and ShopClues in the past.