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Ex SpiceJet Honcho back in India, now as Southeast Asian Hotel Aggregator

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Global, 02 February 2016

Ex SpiceJet Honcho back in India, now as Southeast Asian Hotel Aggregator

NEW DELHI: Less than a year after he quit as budget airline SpiceJet's chief commercial officer to launch a startup in southeast Asia, Kaneswaran Avili is back in the country -- this time as a hotel aggregator selling hotel rooms to Indian travelling there. Taking a leaf out of India's OYO Rooms, Avili launched a Kuala Lumpur-based "virtual hotel operator" -- NIDA Rooms -- with a seed capital of $1.5 million last September which now boasts of having inventory of 2,200 hotels in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines.

"We are tying up with some big Indian travel portals and will be going live with them shortly. We can offer huge hotel inventory to Indians travelling there, which happens in substantial numbers. Singapore got a million travellers from India in last one year and Malaysia got 8 lakh travellers from the country," Avili, a Malaysian national of Indian origin, said.

Avili, who launched the startup with another aviation professional, says NIDA Rooms is offering hotels of Indonesia and Malaysia. The inventory from Thailand and Philippines will be added next month. It then planes to add hotels in Middle East and Latin America to its fold.

"We launched the startup with $1.5 million raised by the two of us, our friends and family. We are closing the second round of funding of $2.5-3.5 million from VCs and some high net worth individuals very shortly. We will look at more fund-raising options as we grow," Avili said.

"We are tying up with big Indian travel portals so as to be able to offer our inventory to Indian travellers as also Indian hotels to our clients in Southeast Asia," he added.