Bangalore: IbiboGroup, a part of South African mass media company Naspers Ltd, said on Thursday it has acquired online bus tracking and analytics platform, YourBus, for an undisclosed amount.

YourBus, owned by Lucido SoftLabs Pvt, was launched by Rajesh Mallipeddi and Satya Padmanabham in 2011. Early last year, they integrated with RedBus.in and deployed their application on more than 100 buses across the country.

This is Ibibo’s second acquisition in under a year. Last June, it acquired RedBus, a part of Pilani Soft Labs Pvt. Ltd, for $138 million. Ashish Kashyap, head of Goibibo Group, charts the road ahead in an interview. Edited excerpts:

What prompted you to buy RedBus?

We organically developed horizontal online travel agency platforms called goibibo.com back in 2010. That platform basically started off with flights and hotels and started growing very fast with the essence of what we wanted to deliver everything to the customer very fast.

With that being our core anchor, we realized that the bus category was unique with a large volume of sellers and operators in the space. That’s what drove us to acquire RedBus last year. With that acquisition, we really grew in terms of volumes of transactions and travelers on a daily basis. It made us the biggest travel ecosystem in the country.

How did YourBus come into the picture?

We tried to figure out what the pain points of bus travellers and operators were. The biggest one for a bus traveller, unlike let us say a train traveller, or air traveller, is that he/she is unable to track the bus. The other problem was that these bus operators, who run hordes of buses between cities and towns, did not have any tracking and assessment systems in place.

A couple of months ago, YourBus which is an early stage start-up with great technology and a great team, integrated the technology with our bus mobile application and it worked beautifully. They had deployed the app in a couple of 100 buses and we integrated with them and as a result of that, a person travelling from place A to place B gets to know the exact location of the bus, the estimated time of arrival, any delays—all this available on their mobile or in the form of SMS(es).

Observing the value it added, we concluded the acquisition earlier this week.

What happens to YourBus now?

The entire team has already joined RedBus. We will also be integrating the same thing on Goibibo, which also sells bus tickets.

What are your plans for the future?

I can talk about focus areas rather than speculating about plans. Our core focus area is mobile. Goibibo and RedBus have native mobile applications for Android, iOS and Windows. Our aim is to be the biggest mobile commerce company in the country and we are striving hard to make both our apps the leading apps.

The second really massive focus area for us is to develop our hotels business even more aggressively by using tools, technology and giving great content and information to travellers.

The third big focus area for us is to keep building seller facing applications, so that they can use tools and technologies to perform better on the Internet. This will enable them to produce better content, drive deals and so on.

This is your second acquisition in 10 months? Are there any more in pipeline?

Look I don’t want to speculate, but we don’t acquire just for the heck of acquiring. The most important part is figuring out if we should build it or buy it. Can we build it? The answer is always yes, but how long will it take? But when we do meet the right partner, we like to convert it into an acquisition, which is like a marriage with no divorce plans. So it all depends on meeting the right people and the right teams, we, as a company, remain open minded to opportunities.

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