Backpacker hostel brand goSTOPS raises additional $1 m bridge round

Backpacker hostel brand goSTOPS on Wednesday announced that it has raised an additional $1 million bridge round within six months of the last million dollar Pre-Series-A round concluded early this year in June.

The round witnessed participation from existing investors The Chennai Angels, Mumbai Angels, Yuj Ventures, Lead Angels, 1Crowd, Indian Angel Network, Chandigarh Angels Network in addition to new angel investors including Rohit Chanana of Sarcha Advisors.

The funding from the additional bridge round will aid the company to accelerate growth further till it concludes its Series-A by June 2022. It will leverage the fresh funds to “aggressively” acquire new budget hotels and rapidly grow its presence across the country.

Hostel bookings growing by 60 per cent month-on-month as travel picks up

“This move is in line with the renewed and rapid demand for strong post-Covid leisure travel that the youth are embarking on,” it said. The company aims to disrupt and grab a leading market share in the $12-billion Indian youth leisure travel opportunity, it further said.

goSTOPS leases and transforms budget hotels and operates them as backpacker hostels.

Resilience through Covid waves

Pallavi Agarwal, Founder and CEO, goSTOPS, commenting on the bridge funding, said, “goSTOPS has grown 2.5X QoQ to ARR of $2.5 million in October 2021. The new bridge funding will allow us to leverage the opportunity presented to us in a post pandemic India to grow to $5 million ARR by June 2022 — that’s 5x YoY growth through a pandemic.”

“We intend to cater to the exponentially growing market of youth travellers in India, who have stepped out to explore the country after a very stress-inducing two years of the pandemic,” added Agarwal.

Covid impact: Hospitality sector set for consolidation

K Chandran, CEO, The Chennai Angels, said, “We are extremely happy with the growth that goSTOPS has achieved since our last investment in the company. The strong validation of the product-market fit and business model resilience through the two Covid waves as well as aggressive founders’ mindset to capitalise on the ‘down-time’ during the pandemic to pursue unprecedented growth were the key reasons for us to re-invest and lead this round.”

In-destination experiences from goSTOPS

Nandini Mansighka, Co-Founder & CEO, Mumbai Angels Network, said, “Lack of quality travel accommodation for youth is a big market-need gap and at a price-point of ₹500 per night, goSTOPS is focussed on addressing the belly of this large market. The brand’s high customer satisfaction score and strong unit economics while rapidly expanding through the pandemic were reasons enough to convince us to further invest and up our commitment in goSTOPS.”

The company currently operates across 27 destinations in India. It recently launched its experiences wing goEXPERIENCES to offer treks, multi-destination tours and in-destination experiences.

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