American Express, also known as Amex, today said it has acquired Mezi, a personal travel assistant app that helps consumer’s plan and book trips.
Developed by Pune-born twins, Swapnil Shinde and Snehal Shinde, Mezi is also backed by Nexus Venture Partners. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) and human expertise to personalise online travel discovery and booking experience.
According to industry sources, the deal size is estimated to be set at $125-150 million, which would be making it one of the largest cash acquisitions in the local startup space.
Mezi had previously partnered with American Express for a pilot project called AskAmex, an app aimed at helping cardholders find and book travel-related services from their iPhone. American Express announced that the pilot will continue to run through the first half of 2018.
"We've built Mezi to become better with each and every interaction and based on the success of our pilot with American Express, we are excited to bring Mezi's mobile capabilities to more Card Members," Snehal Shinde, co-founder and CTO of Mezi, said.
Founded in 2015, the Sunnyvale, California-headquartered company has 45 of its 60 employees based in Pune and Mumbai. It began as a personal concierge service before it decided to focus on its travel vertical.
This is the second startup that the Shinde brothers have sold. In 2014, their music streaming startup Dhingana was acquired by US-based Radio. More than half of the core leadership team of nine people at Mezi had also worked at Dhingana.
The future looks bright for Mezi, as they plan to continue running it as it is, but as a subsidiary of American Express, where the Mezi team will continue to “develop its core technologies and enhance its capabilities” in the travel assistant realm.
The co-founders, Swapnil Shinde and Snehal Shinde will continue to lead Mezi and will report to Phil Norman, vice president at Amex Digital Labs, Global Consumer Services Group at American Express.