May 31: SAIF Partners, a venture capital firm which has a focus on the Asian market, has invested $1.5 million in Airblack, a social-travel commerce start-up based in New Delhi. Airblack, founded by Pulkit Pujara and Videt Jaiswal in February 2019 helps WhatsApp and Instagram ecosystem to connect to travelers and travel influencers. Most of the travelers nowadays depend on such platforms or gets feedback from other travelers.
The VC firm manages around $4 billion in its assets spread across India and China and the one with Airblack is the newest early-stage investment by the company. Paytm, MakeMyTrip, Meesho, ShareChat, Swiggy and Urbanclap are the other companies backed by SAIF Partners in its early stages. They had made investments in travel startups like Treebo and Travel Triangle.
Mayank Khanduja, Principal, SAIF Partners, has been quoted by a news report as saying that around $600 billion is spent on international travel in Asia and India’s international travel market is evolving. Most of the travelers like to have independence in planning trips. The international travel will see a hike with growth in disposable income. Before setting off, the traveler will check for facts online. He added that the company was impressed by the ideas and the community-driven approach used by Airblack.
Understanding the need of travelers to get in touch with other travelers before making a travel decision and the lack of interest in talking to the travel agents as they are not relatable, Airblack is expected to concentrate on creating trust layers.
In venture capital funding, travel companies have raised more than $1 billion in the last five years. Short-term rental startups, travel and tourism apps, marketplaces for “experiences” and other travel or hospitality tech platforms are included in this.
The founders Airblack, Pulkit Pujara, and Videt Jaiswal were both ex-VCs at SAIF Partners. SAIF Partners, a leading venture capital firm provides seed, early, and growth stage capital for emerging companies in India and China. SAIF began partnering with Indian entrepreneurs in 2002.