Why This Angel Investor Is Still Betting High On Travel Industry The numbers of trips Indians take domestically is growing about two-and-a-half times faster than the country's economy

By Vanita D'souza

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Anirudh Damani, Managing Partner, Artha India Ventures has been investing in the stock market since he got his first paycheck. But six years ago, when he started investing in unlisted shares it was a hobby and a method of understanding the ecosystem. Today, he is an angel investor, who has invested in nearly 50+ companies.

We got in touch with young entrepreneur-cum-investor, who has pumped in money in more than 10 companies in the travel and hospitality sector to understand his bullishness in an industry that most of the people believe is done and dusted.

Indian Travelogue

Damani says according to Ministry of Tourism data, the travel sector, in terms of the numbers of trips Indians take within the country, has grown about two-and-a-half time faster than the overall growth of the economy.

"We are in a situation where millennials like clubbing office trips with personal trips and our wallets are getting bigger. The only one thing we want that is something to ease a travel."

Comparing Indian with China, he says almost every flight in India is full and tell me one airport that is lying empty in India compares that to China and Europe, where some of the airports have one flight a day or week.Even though there are so many innovation in the aviation industry, there is not much to talk about your rail sector.

Indians stand second when it comes to the sale of train tickets globally – about 8bn. " and yet we have no technology upgrade to serve these people," he questions.

Talking about what is he eyeing to invest in, he says, "We are looking to invest in companies that can interlink all the modes of travel along with travel analytics, management of secondary properties, bed and breakfast, hostel and travel connoisseur service. No one has actually built the full stack yet."

In the hospitality and travel segment, Artha has investment in RoadHouse Hostels, BookMyCab, Oyo rooms and Hotels Around You.

Damani also thinks in future there is possibility that you don't need to have ZoomCar and ZoomCar doesn't need to have their own cars. "This can happen as the security situation in the country improves."

Other focus

Artha is also positive towards two others industry – consumer goods and content.

Earlier, just like many of us, Damani was not very interest in the consumer goods space as he consider manufacturing a very tedious process. But his perception changed with introduction initiatives like Make In India and Goods and Service Tax (GST) , which have reduce the compliance related problem.

Damani says we are tired of Parle G and want to go beyond Nestle. With consumer's increasing knowledge towards the food we consume, there is lot of scope in the ayurvedic and organic food segment.

When it comes to content, Damani says, Indians are eating content like never before especially with the cost of data access coming down to Rs 10/ per gigabyte. "Look at the amount of AmazonPrime, ALTBalaji, and even EROS is doing very well," the fourth generation entrepreneur points out.

Vanita D'souza

Former Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India

I am a Mumbai-based journalist and have worked with media companies like The Dollar Business Magazine, Business Standard, etc.While on the other side, I am an avid reader who is a travel freak and has accepted foodism as my religion.

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