HolidayIQ Secures Third Round Funding; Exclusive Interview With Hari Nair,CEO
HolidayIQ, India’s leading travel review community secured its third round of funding from Tiger Global Management and Accel Partners. The total deal worth is not disclosed, but according to Economic Times, the deal is said to be in the range of Rs 26 to 30 crore (~US 5 million). Also, HolidayIQ has demerged from Wego, south asia’s metasearch engine company. HolidayIQ and Wego established a merger partnership in November 2010.
Wego (earlier known in India as Bezurk) was founded in 2005 by former executives from Intercontinental Hotels Group, Yahoo, Priceline and ZUJI. Wego raised its Series A round of funding from News Digital Media. Recently, Wego opened its office in India and Jakarta (Indonesia).
HolidayIQ was founded in 2004 by Hair Nair with his personal fund and seed funding from Devinder Singh Puri, Co-founder of HCL Enterprises. In 2006, HolidayIQ raised its first round (Series A) of funding from Accel Partners.
In 2010, when both (HolidayIQ and Wego) companies merged, they raised joint funding from both Accel Partners and Tiger Global Management.
In 2013, HolidayIQ and Wego demerged. Accel Partners has exited from Wego, however Tiger Global retains shareholding in Wego and funded HolidayIQ’s third round of funding individually.
Travopia had the opportunity to discuss with Hari Nair, Founder and CEO of HolidayIQ, about this funding. Interview discussion is below:
Travopia: How are you planning to spend this 3rd round of funding?
Hari Nair: We will invest in three areas – Product development, marketing initiatives and hiring talent
Travopia: How did the merger with Wego happened and why both the companies demerged?
Hari Nair: In 2010, both HolidayIQ and Wego established a merger partnership with below thoughts:
- Both HolidayIQ and Wego can leverage each others operational strengths
- HolidayIQ can establish a presence in South east asian markets
- HolidayIQ can use Wego’s search engine to compare products, which we are still doing today
- For Wego, HolidayIQ’s traffic would be a good lead
Recently, both of us (HolidayIQ, Wego) realized that we can independently grow big. Hence, the demerger.
Travopia: What are the plans for HolidayIQ for next 2-3 years? Is becoming an OTA on the cards?
Hair Nair: We will never become a transaction based OTA. We’re in the similar business of Trip Advisor. We will continue to do what are we doing now in terms of both business and revenue model.
In October ’12, HolidaylQ launched a first of its kind initiative titled “Goa to the power of HolidaylQ”. As part of this initiative, key hotels in Goa were given a customized tablet called “hiq!PAD” that is preloaded with application that enables guests at the hotel to share reviews about their stay. These reviews will be published in HolidayIQ.com.
Recent investment / acquisition updates in chronological order in India:
- In November ’12: MakeMyTrip acquired major equity in ITC Group for $3.3 million; prior to this MakeMyTrip acquired Hotel Travel Group for $25 million
- In June ’12: Yatra, leading OTA acquired TravelGuru.com from Travelocity
- In January ’12: Yatra acquired Buzzintown.com, an event and entertainment guide portal
- In November ’11, MakeMyTrip acquired 29% stake in MyGuestHouse.com for $1 million
- In August ’11: MakeMyTrip along with Saif Partners, acquired 76.6% stake in iXiGo.com for $18.5 million
- In July ’11: Yatra acquired MagicRooms.com
- In May’11: MakeMyTrip acquired 79% stake in Singapore based Luxury Tours & Travel for $3 million
- In 2011, Yatra raised a funding of $45 million while ClearTrip raised $40 million