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With the Winter Olympics underway, Russia’s all about the travel. Whether it be booking flights or hotels, getting to know the good or bad, people need to be able to weigh their options fairly. The Russia-based Private Equity and Venture Capital fund, iTech Capital, has invested US$10 million in the popular Russian online travel search engine, Aviasales, buying a minority stake in the company. The investment will be used to further develop the service, expand the team, and to promote key products.
Two of the most popular forms of ecommerce are airfares and hotel bookings. As a travel search engine, Aviasales takes advantage of this and helps people compare airfares and hotel options from dozens of travel sites.
This recent cash injection will be used to develop the firm’s key products: the Aviasales Russian search engine and its international counterpart, JetRadar, a recently launched Thai version, as well as the Hotellook hospitality project and Travelpayouts affiliate network.
The site records more than 4-million unique visitors every month who make over half a million search queries for tickets every day. About 27% of the queries are made using smartphones and tablets which points to a need for more focus in mobile development. Aviasales also has an app which is being used by more than 1.5 million customers.
“Partnering with iTech Capital will allow us to keep up the growth pace on a highly competitive market. At the moment Aviasales is growing by more than 100% a year. It is a major Russian search service in the travel sector, successfully competing with foreign projects,” says Aviasales founder Konstantin Kalinov.
IATA’s forecast for 2014 indicates that carrier profits will increase by 9%, which means better revenues for all market participants. Search engines are a vital part of the ticket sales industry, both in its IT as well as its data value.
iTech Capital’s Investment Manager Ilya Balandin says, “by investing in Aviasales, we expect synergy with our other online marketing and booking assets to improve growth.”
Image via iPhones.ru