redBus.in, a bus ticketing site owned by Bangalore-based Pilani Soft Labs Pvt Ltd, is looking for acquisitions and is in talks with a few offline bus ticketing companies in Singapore and Malaysia.
The acquisitions will help redBus expand its geographical footprint while those companies can leverage its technology and backend operations. However, redBus will come up with country-specific sites instead of operating its business from a single online platform.
Speaking exclusively to us, redBus CEO Phanindra Sama said, “We are not looking at any Indian company as we are the only vertical player in this space and similar companies (those only selling bus tickets) are not currently operating here. redBus is, therefore, looking at some offline companies outside the country, who intend to go online.”
Asked why the company was keen on Singapore and Malaysia, Sama said, “These two countries have extensive bus networks and hence, have similar companies operating there.”
Right now, the company is evaluating if it has the bandwidth to handle a new asset. “If it happens, it will be our first ever acquisition and we need to go through a lot of processes. Once you do an acquisition, you get to know the procedure and subsequent acquisitions become easier,” added Sama.
“We will never acquire a company that is not into bus ticketing. Neither would we look at a domain which we have not handled before. Even related domains like hotel booking will never come into our consideration,” he further clarified.
Till now, redBus has raised more than $7.5 million from three rounds of funding. Last May, it raised $6.5 million from Helion Venture Partners, Inventus Capital Partners and Seedfund. Earlier, it had raised $1 million in Series A funding from Seedfund, followed by an undisclosed sum from Inventus Capital Partners and Seedfund in July 2009.
redBus has gained significant traction and only a few days ago, it claimed to have sold more than one crore bus seats in India. The company sold around 40-50 lakh tickets during FY2012. According to redBus, it has a registered customer base of over two millions and has grown at an average rate of 250 per cent year on year for the past five years. The gross merchandise value or GMV in FY2012 almost doubled to reach Rs 300 crore over the previous year.
It currently employs 400 people across 18 offices and facilitates ticket booking for over 1.8 lakh bus routes all over India – run by more than 700 bus operators. Earlier this year, it had launched its ticketing service on mobile, helping travellers access bus schedules, fares and seat layouts on their handsets besides ticket booking.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)