Travela, a travel-tech startup from Bangladesh, has received a grant of Tk10 lakh from the Innovation Design and Entrepreneurship Academy (iDEA) project under the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division.
Earlier in May this year, the startup raised Tk50 lakh in angel investment, reads a press release issued in this regard.
They are currently in talks with local and global investors to raise another fresh investment in their pre-seed round.
It has been a year since the inception of Travela, and it looks promising so far. They started their journey as an accommodation sharing platform.
In a year of operation, Travela served around 3,500 bookings so far. The platform has over 600 properties listed, spread across six cities.
"At the beginning, we were just a local alternative for Airbnb. It was intentional. We took our time to understand our users, local market, and the actual need.
"We listened to our users, homeowners and gradually introduced features and facilities, small iterations that, in a year, built a product that is better suited to serve the local market than any global giant," said Travela Co-founder and CEO Saad Rahman.
Echoing the same, Travela Co-founder and COO Mir Ishtiaque Ahmed said, "We're leading the market in rental apartment segment, and seeing a steady growth.
"We've also experimented with hotels and have seen an optimistic response, and now getting serious about hotels as well. We'll launch two more verticals in the first and second quarters of the next year respectively."
The company aims to empower homeowners and service providers, and help local economies directly benefit from travelers across the nation. "We are already seeing homeowners earning 3 to 4 times more than their usual rents by hosting their apartments on Travela. Besides that, we're building a program which will create income opportunities for our young generations." said Saad Rahman.
"I started hosting on Travela in October last year with one apartment in Dhanmondi. It was a side hustle for me. Now, I host three apartments in Dhanmondi and Mohammadpur, and earn ten times more than what I used to get as salary at my last job.
"So I quit my job, and started doing this full time," said Mahady Hassan, one of the hosts of Travela.
Travela aims to expand its services to all the major cities of the country by the end of this year, added the release.