Train booking and prediction platform Confirmtkt, has achieved the rare profitability status during the financial year ended March 2019, making it one of the few startups to hit profitability targets in FY19 along with online furniture retailer Urban Ladder.
During FY19, Confirmtkt reported a net profit (after tax) of ₹26.73 lakh, compared to a net loss of ₹36.22 lakh reported a year ago. The startup also reported a 5-fold increase in operating revenue during FY19 amounting to ₹4.7 crore, compared to revenues of ₹89,84 lakh in FY18, according to the company’s filings with the registrar of companies (RoC).
To return to profit, Confirmtkt spent around ₹4.47 crore in total expenses during FY19, which increased 4-fold compared to ₹1.18 crore in expenses reported in the previous year.
“Our major expenses was people cost and payment gateway cost, including cost of providing payment infrastructure. Roughly our total ticket sales (in FY19) was ₹93 crore, of which we paid around 1.3% as MDR charges," said Sripad Vaidya, chief operating officer of Confirmtkt in an interview.
Bengaluru-based Confirmtkt, which has been operational for over four years now, predicts confirmations of wait-listed train tickets on any given route, using a score of 0-100 by tracking Passenger Name Records (PNRs) and other data points. It also offers train, bus, and air ticket booking directly on its mobile app.
The platform predicts about 80,000 railway tickets per day, which according to Confirmtkt presently serves about 10% of Indian Railways travelers. The startup initially launched in 2014 as a platform for predicting train ticket confirmation chances and within a year of its operations in 2015, Confirmtkt achieved over 300,000 daily active users.
Vaidya said that a majority of Confitmtkt’s income was generated from online transactions. “Until March 2018, majority of our revenue came from ads, since we didn’t start providing booking services before March last year. But now in FY19, about 80% of the revenue is from transaction 5-10% is from ad revenues," added Vaidya
As of October 2019, Confirmtkt claimed to have crossed 25 lakh train bookings. With over 10 million app downloads to date, the app supports seven regional languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam and Bengali, apart from English.
“The train ticketing market is gaining momentum with the privatization of trains and the entry of bigger players into the market. India’s train market can soon be compared to the European train market where the trains are run by multiple private players. Privatization will present new growth opportunities for startups like us and help us provide better customer experience. We plan to complete 5x of current monthly booking traction of 530,000 tickets in the next 18 months," said Dinesh Kumar Kotha, chief executive of Confirmtkt.
Kotha also added that the startup is also in talks to raise $10 million in an upcoming Series A funding round, although he didn’t disclose any investor names.
In the train ticket prediction space, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a subsidiary of Indian Railways had launched a prediction feature on its online ticket booking platform in May 2018. Apart from this, train comparison portal Railyatri, backed by investors like Omidyar Network and Nandan Nilekani also added prediction support on its portal. In December 2018, Google had also acquired Bengaluru-based Where Is MyTtrain, a train tracking and route information app under its ‘next billion users’ initiative.