India’s ace online travel company MakeMyTrip has acquired majority stake in Bangalore-based travel planning startup MyGola.com for an undisclosed amount and the entire Mygola team has joined MakeMyTrip as part of the deal.
This acquisition was done through the MakeMyTrip Innovation Fund, a $15 million fund formed in September last year by MakeMyTrip to invest in startup or early-stage companies in the travel technology space.
Founded by Anshuman Bapna and Prateek Sharma in 2009, Bangalore- and US-based travel tech startup Mygola was started as pre-planning travel tech startup which used the web platform with a question & answer based model for information-sharing and working out travel arrangements. The firm pivoted in 2013 to make travel itineraries based on expert blogs.
MyGola.com got ~500K+ organic visitors a month, was named one of the most innovative startups by PhoCusWright, one of the top travel planning apps by Lonely Planet.
Mygola built a website and an app that covers more than 20,000 destinations worldwide across 15+ countries including
MyGola claims to have created the world’s largest collection of curated itineraries, culling them from sources like the New York Times and Fodors. It then guides travelers through building an itinerary, featuring information, reviews, tips, a scheduling interface, and easy tools for making changes.
Mygola has built a proprietary technology to mine the travel web and even filed patents on route optimization and collected metadata for millions of travel items and thousands of itineraries. It also pioneered a unique crowd-sourced model for curating travel data.
For MakeMyTrip, this comes as another inorganic expansion move. In February 2014, it had acquired EasyToBook.com Group for $5 million. In November 2012, it had acquired the Hotel Travel Group (HT Group) for $25 million. The HT Group, under the brand ‘Hotel Travel’, had been operating the website www.hoteltravel.com for more than a decade in Southeast Asia.
In MyGola App and website, since users book everything from attractions to restaurants and cabs from within the app, the company makes money through a commission every time a transaction happens. For restaurant booking, it charges $1 per diner and between 5 and 10 per cent from cabs, etc. It also charges 5 per cent from end users as convenience fee.
“The Company (MakeMyTrip) expects that Mygola’s team’s deep understanding of travelers’ planning and in-destination experience preferences will be valuable in strengthening the Company’s proposition in these and related areas of customer engagement,” said MakeMyTrip officials in its filing.