Mumbai: Bangalore-based travel portal VIA has sold an undisclosed stake to NEA-IndoUS Capital Advisors for $5 million (Rs21 crore). This is VIA’s (earlier known as FlightRaja) first round of funding after it was formed in November 2005. It joins the ranks of MakeMyTrip and Yatra Online in Delhi and Cleartrip in Mumbai, who also roped in venture capital funding recently.
VIA offers travel services, primarily airline ticketing, through multiple channels, namely offline kiosks, mobile, travel agents and the Internet. Founder-CEO, Vinay Gupta was a consultant at Credit Suisse First Boston before starting VIA. Former Thomas Cook India chief, Ashwini Kakkar, is an investor. The company books 5,000 tickets a day and will use the funds’ infusion to expand its activities into railway and bus ticketing and car rentals.
NEA-IndoUS, a Bangalore-based venture capital investor led by serial entrepreneurs Vani Kola and Vinod Dham, marks its fourth deal with VIA since it launched its $105 million fund here this January. Last week, it followed up with its fifth investment—$25 million in Bangalore-based ISGN Technologies. The fund is backed by Menlo Park-based New Enterprise Associates, which ranks among the top 10 VC investors in the Silicon Valley.
Travel portals are currently high on VC’s radars and industry experts say the segment is reaching a point where differentiation is getting harder. While investments in the segment have picked up only in the last 10-12 months, experts say it may already be time to see some consolidation in the space.