After a year of bootstrapping resources and declining a number of funding offers, Mihuru, a Mumbai-based travel fintech startup, finally decided to raise its first round of funding of $150,000. The funds will be used to further enrich their current product and expand their team. Mihuru will also expand into credit products for other travel verticals in addition to the current flights vertical.
Young Indians today prefer to splurge on experiences rather than products and very often need to save up for vacations, with flights accounting for 30-40% of the vacation funds. However, by the time they’ve saved enough, flight prices have often skyrocketed, leading them to buying more expensive tickets or compromising on the destination.
Mihuru believes that Indian travelers should have the freedom to travel often and to their preferred destinations without having to worry about how to fund the large upfront cost of flight tickets. Easy installments to book flights take away the burden of blocking a significant amount and enable travelers to buy tickets months in advance when flights are the cheapest. Travelers pay only 20% of the flight cost upfront and Mihuru purchases the ticket on their behalf for a small fee. The balance of the flight cost has to be paid off before the travel.
Mihuru’s customers are young Indians who don’t have access to traditional credit scores or enough limits on their credit cards and require micro loans to fulfill their travel desires. These Indians need instant approvals and don’t have the patience to wait for days for a possible loan approval from a traditional lender. Mihuru evaluates customers based on their digital footprint and a simple psycholinguistic assessment prior to approving credit to them through a fully online process that takes less than 5 minutes from start to approval. Flight tickets can be booked instantly as soon as the credit is approved and are funded by Mihuru’s lending partner.
Mihuru’s primary revenue source is a service fee that it charges customers to avail this “book now, pay later” facility. Despite paying this service fee, customers can still save up to 15-20% on ticket prices by booking their flights in advance. This revenue source is being supplemented by ancillary sources of revenues.
Mihuru has been founded by a woman entrepreneur Ms. Shruti Mehrotra and her Co-Founder and advisor, Mr. Jonathan Nunez Gonzalez. Mihuru was recently selected as one of the 20 winners of an RBL Bank and Startup India initiative, InFinIT20.
“The funds will help to build a 360 degree travel fintech platform with multiple credit touch points across the travel journey, thereby addressing the unmet needs of travelers for credit and providing them the ability to split payment for their entire travel across months and different payment methods”, said Ms Shruti Mehrotra.
Ms Shruti has rich experience actively working with startups during her years in growth and early stage private equity across India, USA and South East Asia. She is now applying this experience of working with startups to building Mihuru. She has an MBA degree from the Kellogg School of Management, USA. Ms. Shruti is an avid traveler, enjoys photography and is a technophile.