In a country like India where the population is growing by the day, it becomes difficult to use a public conveyance for commuting between cities. If a family has to travel from X city to Y, they’ll have to book train tickets at least 2-3 months in advance or they have the option for tatkal (where the website is hard to manage, the traffic is high and the tickets disappear as agents have already filled their form). Most of the time when the user’s ticket is in the waitlist, it gets hard to predict the confirmation. To solve the problem of conveyance, ticket predictability and the complex structure of Indian Railways confirmation theme, ConfirmTkt came into being.
Founded by Dinesh Kumar and Sripad Vaidya in 2014, the platform acts as a prediction platform for train tickets by using the data analysed by them. In a conversation with Sripad, he stated that they faced a lot of difficulty in finding a confirmed train ticket between Hyderabad and Bangalore. They started analysing the data and through this observation they started booking tickets between the place, and it worked! Their tickets got confirmed and by this they started this platform known as ConfirmTkt.
Dinesh and Sripad have worked together in IBM. Sripad is a software engineer by profession, while Dinesh has been NIT (Jamshedpur) Alumni and has worked with him as a Java application developer.
Services & Monetisation
The startup is not only a ticket prediction platform, Sripad stated that they’ll be integrating air tickets and bus tickets too. As the platform also recommends different ways of travelling from A to B, this integration will help a user to know different ways of travelling with the cheapest prices. Let’s say one wants to travel from Delhi to Lucknow and let’s assume there’s no direct train, the platform will suggest you to take the train till Bareilly and then take a bus to lucknow, or the user will be booking two train tickets at the same time and will just have to change his/her seat at a particular point.
Also, Sripad stated that they will be integrating bus, flights and train booking on their platform. Currently, the platform is just an information portal and so the company is not monetising. When asked about the same Sripad said, “We’ll be revamping our platform, if a user is unable to get his train ticket confirmed, we’ll offer them alternatives like a flight or a bus or a taxi etc.”
Traction & Funding
Sripad claims to have 38,000 active users through mobile and 11,000 from desktop on an everyday basis. It’s Android version available on Google Play has around five lakh downloads.
ConfirmTkt was initially being bootstrapped from 2012-14, and since then it has raised two rounds of funds. In the last round they raised $250,000 from Krishna Jhujhunwala, Sanjay Mehta, Anand Ladsariya, Anirudh Damani, Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, and Venture Catalyst. Sripad said, “By the end of this year we’re planning to raise funds, these funds will be used to complete the product and help us expand.”
Market & Competitors
The market seems to have three major players in the sector: Ixigo, Trainman and ConfirmTkt. All these platform calculate the probability of a ticket getting confirmed using IRCTC’s back data. Other players in the section that can come up with a similar service include Yatra, Cleartrip, Goibibo etc.
According to a report published in travelbizmonitor, the country’s online travel industry is expected to grow by 17.8 percent during 2013-2016. Also, the paper quoted, “Online penetration in travel and tourism bookings is estimated to increase from 41% in 2014 to 46% in 2017.” As the market expands, so will the services and its scope.