Travel search platform Aviasales (a.k.a. JetRadar) has received a $43 million investment from Elbrus Capital Funds and iTech Capital. As one of the most recognised names in the Russian and CIS travel market, Aviasales plans to use the new capital to launch new products and continue growth in both domestic and international markets. The company’s corporate travel service, as well as automated affiliate marketing platform Travelpayouts, will also benefit from the new funding.
Founded in late 2007, Aviasales reports monthly user numbers of over 15 million, accounting for every fifth airline ticket in Russia being purchased via the platform. In total, this would present a gross merchandise sales volume in 2021 exceeding $1.6 billion.
“Despite all of the difficulties caused by the pandemic, and despite its significant negative impact on the economy in general and on the travel sector in particular, Aviasales is performing well above its pre-pandemic levels. Thanks to its strong business model the company finished 2020 in the black and is aggressively and profitably gaining market share in 2021,” commented CEO Max Kraynov.
While lockdowns in Russian were slightly delayed when compared to those in western Europe and the US, April 2020 saw an 80% nosedive in bookings in the region. However, according to Skift Research, the Russian travel industry is showing signs of a strong recovery (second only to the US and Mexico), and almost half of all Russians report that they plan on traveling this year.
While Aviasales doesn’t specifically mention this in an announcement, looking at the growing trend in the travel industry, one has to wonder if an injection of $43 million is somehow earmarked for a series of acquisitions. Not exactly in the same game, but still on the same field, Spain’s Travelperk is snapping up competitors like crazy, and next-door neighbour Exoticca has hinted that with a recent $30 million funding round, acquisitions are on the horizon.