On 5 May 2020, employees of holiday marketplace TravelTriangle received a bolt from the blue. An email from chief operating officer (COO) Sanjeev Misra informed them that co-founder Sankalp Agarwal was no longer chief executive officer (CEO). Another co-founder—chief technology officer (CTO) Prabhat Gupta—was also relieved of his duties by the board of directors. Misra would take charge as interim CEO.
This was only the latest twist for IIT alumni Agarwal and Gupta, who founded the company in 2011 along with Sanchit Garg, another IIT graduate. The premise of TravelTriangle is simple—it aggregates the largely-offline holiday packages industry, while allowing vacationers to customise these otherwise rigid offerings. Garg has not actively been involved in running the company since August 2018.
Several travel industry executives The Ken spoke to said that TravelTriangle is a leader in the online holiday packages segment. It works with more than 1,000 agents, and claims to have over eight million monthly users and $100 million in GMV for 2019. Its revenue for the year ended March 2019 stood at Rs 34.8 crore ($4.5 million), a 54.6% rise from the previous year. Despite this, its losses widened. TravelTriangle saw a Rs 48.7 crore ($6.3million) loss for the year ended March 2019, a 21.7% increase from the previous year.
Along the way, it raised over $47 million, across several rounds, from marquee investors such as SAIF Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), and The Fundamentum Partnership, among others.
This funding, though, is what has led to the imbroglio the company currently finds itself in. A standoff between a clutch of powerful investors and founders who diluted themselves to the point of vulnerability. In October 2019, Travel Triangle raised a $13 million series D round, with the investors’ stake in the company going up from 66.6% to 69%.
Mere months later, in December 2019, the company’s investor directors—from SAIF Partners, BVP, and Fundamentum (together, these three funds hold a 53.2% stake in TravelTriangle)—sought to convene a board meeting.