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Yatra.com receives Rs 200 cr in funding to Fuel Growth

Yatra Online Private Limited (‘Yatra.com’), India’s leading online travel company, today announced receiving funding of Rs 200 crores from blue chip investors including Valiant Capital Management, Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) and Intel Capital.

The investment will help accelerate Yatra.com’s growth plans by enabling the company to increase sales and marketing activities, expand its hotels and holidays business and selectively pursue strategic acquisitions.

Based in Gurgaon, India, Yatra.com is a one-stop-shop for all travel-related services. A leading consolidator of travel products, Yatra.com provides reservation facility for more than 3,800 hotels across 336 cities in India and over 90,000 hotels around the world. Yatra.com partners with domestic and international airlines to offer flight-booking services at the best rates. Through a close working alliance with all leading airlines, Yatra.com offers negotiated rates for flight bookings for travel from, into and within India. All products at Yatra.com come with a best price guarantee and an assurance of instant booking.  Customers can access Yatra.com through multiple ways: through Yatra.com’s user-friendly website, 24×7 multi-lingual call center, a countrywide network of 30 Holiday Lounges and Yatra Travel Express stores or via their mobile phones.

“Yatra.com has witnessed exponential growth over the last four years making it one of the leading brands and household names in India. This round of funding will enable us to broaden our reach and brand awareness in tier two and tier three towns, which are experiencing tremendous growth in e-commerce. In addition, we will use the funds to accelerate our expansion in the hotels and holidays segments,” said Dhruv Shringi, chief executive officer, Yatra.

Shringi added, “Garnering continued support and faith from such reputed investors gives us immense confidence in our business and is a testament to our execution capabilities and strong value proposition in India.”

“When we made a seed investment in Yatra.com in 2006, the online travel market in India was still at a nascent stage, but there was a tremendous need for innovation in this sector. We were confident that Yatra.com was at the forefront of the changing face of travel in India and the company was poised for tremendous growth,” said Promod Haque, managing partner at Norwest Venture Partners and Yatra chairman and board member. “The team has worked extremely hard to execute on its vision of serving the unique needs of business and leisure travelers in India. As a result, we’re proud that Yatra.com has grown to become the preeminent travel services company in India today.”

Haque added, “Yatra.com’s best in class technology, experienced team of professionals and unparalleled focus on serving Indian consumers has enabled the company to thrive over the past four years. The combination of India's immense population, a sizable middle class in India with increased spending power and ever increasing Internet usage in India continues to open the doors for exciting new opportunities for Yatra.com as it reaches this new stage of growth.”

“Over the past few years, we have seen Yatra management continue to execute well. The team has been able to identify, negotiate and successfully integrate strategic acquisitions. The team is focused on building compelling value propositions for customers which has resulted in a strong affinity for the Yatra brand.” said Sudheer Kuppam, Managing Director, Intel Capital Asia Pacific. “We believe travel will continue to be the dominant ecommerce segment and leads growth of online transactions in the tier 2 and 3 cities in India. This investment is aligned with Intel’s strategic objective of increasing broadband penetration in India through fostering entrepreneurship in compelling content and ecommerce opportunities.”

About Yatra.com
Yatra.com is India’s leading online travel company that offers a host of travel services designed to make business and leisure travel easier. Based in Gurgaon, India, Yatra.com is a leading consolidator of travel products that provides reservation facility for more than 3,800 hotels across 336 cities in India and over 90,000 hotels around the world. Yatra.com provides information, pricing, availability and booking facility for domestic and international air travel, hotel and railway reservations, bus and car rentals, and  holiday packages.  Customers can access Yatra.com through multiple ways: through its user-friendly website, 24×7 multi-lingual call center, a countrywide network of 30 Holiday Lounges and Yatra Travel Express stores or through their mobile phones. Yatra.com provides booking facility for all the popular as well as exotic national and international destinations. Launched in August 2006, Yatra is today ranked as the leading provider of consumer-direct travel services in India. Yatra.com has emerged as the most trusted travel brand in India and was recently voted ‘Most Trusted Branded of India’ in the online travel category by Brand Equity. In addition, Yatra.com received the coveted most preferred online travel company award at the CNBC/Awaaz Consumer Travel Awards from the Hon Tourism Minister of IndiaSmt Kumari Shailja.

Yatra.com’s Investors
Yatra.com is backed by well-known and reputed investors: Promod Haque’s Silicon Valley-based Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group’s Reliance Capital, Raghav Bahl-promoted Network 18, Intel Capital, the strategic investment arm of Intel, and Valiant Capital Management.

About Norwest Venture Partners
Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) is a global venture and growth equity investment firm that manages more than USD 3.7 billion in capital.  Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, NVP has subsidiaries in Mumbai and Bengaluru, India and Herzelia, Israel. NVP makes early to late stage venture and growth equity investments in U.S. and global companies across a wide range of sectors including: information technology, business services, financial services, infrastructure, technology enabled services and consumer. NVP has actively partnered with entrepreneurs to build great businesses for more than 50 years and has funded nearly 500 companies since inception.  For more information, please visit
www.nvp.com

About Network 18
Network18 is one of India's leading full play media conglomerates with interests in television, print, internet, filmed entertainment, mobile content and allied businesses. Through its holding in Television Eighteen India Ltd (TV18), Network18 operates India’s leading business news television channels, CNBC-TV18 and CNBC Awaaz. It also runs one of India’s largest Internet players – Web18, as well as one of India’s leading real time financial information and news terminals – Newswire18. TV18 has recentlyexpanded into print with the acquisition of Infomedia, India's leading player in the B2B publishing and printing operations space, and announced a collaboration with Forbes media for the launch of a business magazine in India. Through its holding in ibn18 Broadcast Limited (IBN18) [BSE: 532800,NSE: IBN18], Network18 operates in the general news and entertainment space with leading general news channels CNN-IBN and IBN7 and has launched IBN Lokmat, a Marathi news channel in partnership with the Lokmat group. IBN18 also operates a joint venture with Viacom Inc., called Viacom18 Media Private Limited which houses the MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon channels in India – as also Studio18, the Group’s filmed entertainment operation and recently launched ‘Colors’, a Hindi general entertainment channel. Additionally, Network18 holds the Group’s online & on-air home shopping venture, Homeshop18 and its full spectrum events management venture, E18.

About Reliance Venture Asset Management
Reliance Venture Asset Management, wholly owned subsidiary of Reliance Capital, is the venture capital arm of the Reliance Group with an investment mandate to incubate or invest into high-growth, new business ideas and is stage, sector and geography agnostic. Ranked 30th in the reputed list of US-based, Red Herring Top 100 Global Venture Capital firms in 2009 out of 1,800 global VC firms, from 32 countries, and across 12 benchmarks, Reliance Venture is the only Indian Corporate Venture Capital firm to feature in the ranking. RVAM endeavors to be the preferred choice and premier partner of all its portfolio companies and assures its full commitment to them over an unlimited period of time. RVAM currently manages assets of Rs. 176 crore (US$ 38 million)

About Intel Capital
Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment organization, makes equity investments in innovative technology start-ups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software, and services targeting enterprise, home, mobility, health, consumer Internet, semiconductor manufacturing and cleantech. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than US$9.8 billion in over 1,100 companies in 48 countries. In that timeframe, 189 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world and 258 were acquired or participated in a merger. In 2010, Intel Capital invested US$327 million in 119 investments with approximately 44 percent of funds invested outside the U.S. and Canada. For more information on Intel Capital and its differentiated advantages, visit
www.intelcapital.com.

About Valiant Capital Management
Valiant Capital Management is a global investment firm based in San Francisco, California. Valiant’s investment objective is to generate superior risk adjusted returns by employing a flexible mandate that allows it to search the world for the best investment opportunities. The firm’s investment philosophy is centered on buying good businesses run by good managers at reasonable valuations. Valiant was founded in 2008 and currently has over USD 2 billion of assets under management.

Source: Business Standard

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