QuaQua Experiences Pvt. Ltd, a platform that provides real and virtual travel experiences, has raised $1 million (Rs 7.5 crore) from Anthill Ventures and other existing investors.
The Hyderabad-based startup will use the funds to upgrade its platform, expand its booking features and create content for additional tourist destinations within India, QuaQua said in a statement.
QuaQua, which was founded in 2016 by Sandesh Reddy and Purav Shah, was one of the 15 shortlisted startups for Anthill Ventures' six-month market access programme A-Scale last year.
The startup says it currently has users from over 100 countries and a user base of over 2.5 million. It added that its customer traction increased in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
It also noted that despite major travel restrictions for tourists because of the pandemic, people's fascination to have travel experiences will not fade anytime soon even as investor interest on the segment has become depressed.
Shah, who is also the CEO at QuaQua, said that while virtual travel is becoming the norm, short trips and staycations will drive demand in the domestic circuit.
“Travel industry needs to evolve and there has never been a more appropriate time to recreate the future,” he added.
Sailesh Sigatapu, partner at Anthill Ventures, said that a content-first travel network is a revolutionary change in the industry and it believes that QuaQua has the DNA to execute this new paradigm.
The broader Indian online travel segment is dominated by the likes of MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip and Yatra.
In recent years, a few travel-tech startups have also attracted investors’ attention.
In April, VCCircle reported that Chiratae Ventures, which has previously backed travel-tech companies Yatra and Tripoto, has invested in another startup that offers online ticket booking services.
In February, for instance, Stelling Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which operates train travel and ticketing platform RailYatri, raised Rs 100 crore in an extended Series B round.
Other travel-tech ventures that have secured funding over the past couple of years include Guiddoo, PickYourTrail, ixigo and TravelTriangle.
However, the broader travel industry has been severely hit by the coronavirus pandemic and its impact has also been felt by the online players.
For instance, MakeMyTrip has decided to lay off 350 employees, media reports said earlier this week.