Treebo buys Axilor-backed Events High in first acquisition

Budget hotel chain Treebo has bought events and activities marketplace platform Events High for an undisclosed sum, it said in a media statement.

This is Treebo’s first acquisition. The team from Events High will join the hotel chain, the statement said.

The Bengaluru-based events platform was founded in 2016 by Nikesh Garera and Arvind Batra in 2016. With this acquisition, early-stage venture fund Axilor, which had invested in the startup, will get a stake in Treebo, the statement added.

Events High offers customers activities like treks and hikes, cooking classes, dance classes, concerts, heritage walks and nightlife across the top eight cities. It claims to have more than 1.5 million unique users per month and had seen 10 times growth in bookings during the last year.

"We are now making another move in the same direction of enriching customer experience by offering curated local events and activities through Events High. Experiencing these local activities is a core part of people’s travel plans," Sidharth Gupta, co-founder and chief executive of Treebo, said.

Treebo estimates the Indian events market to be worth $5 billion. Gupta said that events and activities in the country are mostly booked offline and are fragmented and unorganised. There is a large demand among travellers and this industry has similar characteristics to that of the hotel industry 10 years ago. “We saw a great opportunity to use technology to capture the untapped potential of this space through Events High,” he added.

Treebo was founded in 2015 by Gupta, Rahul Chaudhary and Kadam Jeet Jain. The company has so far raised $55 million from investors like SAIF Partners, Matrix Partners, Bertelsmann India and others.

Garera and Batra of Events High have previously worked at Google and Walmart in the US. They were a part of the Kosmix team in the Bay Area, which later got acquired and became Walmart Labs. The duo moved to Bengaluru some years back with Walmart Labs and started Events High.

“We have been curating these experiences and making them discoverable. We have seen an explosion in demand and supply of experiences. Stay is an integral part of the huge number of travellers who attend such experiences," said Garera, co-founder and chief executive of Events High.

Globally, interest in the activities and experiences space has piqued recently with several players taking bets by either building this offering organically or investing in existing companies. Airbnb launched Experiences last year, Marriott invested in activities meta search platform PlacePass, and Booking Holdings acquired activities distribution software provider, FareHarbour. Viator (owned by TripAdvisor), GetYourGuide, and Klook are the other companies active in this space globally.

In India, online travel aggregator Cleartrip has bet big on events.

Treebo competes with Goldman Sachs-backed FabHotels and SoftBank-backed Oyo.

Treebo and FabHotels were delisted from OTA portals Goibibo and MakeMyTrip recently. The companies face an uphill battle against market leader Oyo.

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