Travelstart has secured $40 million (R645 million) in funding from global technology investors Amadeus Capital Partners and mobile phone group MTN.
“Travelstart’s goal has always been to put people in charge of their own travel arrangements – to help them save time and money while receiving excellent customer service,” says Stephan Ekbergh, CEO of Travelstart.
“This capital gives us additional resources to expand quickly and strategically into new markets, innovate rapidly, and deliver on our vision in more countries”.
Africa’s largest online platform for booking flights, hotels and rental cars, said the investment would be used to accelerate the company’s rapid growth into new markets and further entrench its dominance on the continent as an online travel booking portal.
The firm said the investment round is led by UK-based technology investor Amadeus Capital Partners, with participation from the MTN.
With this investment, Andrea Traversone, Investment Partner at Amadeus Capital Partners, and Stephan Ekbergh, Chief Executive Officer of Travelstart have joined Travelstart’s Board of Directors.
Travelstart’s financial advisor for this transaction was EOC Partners LLP.
Since launching in South Africa in 2006, Travelstart claim to have more than 2 million monthly users in 16 countries who use its secure technology to book flights, hotels and rental cars around the world.
Amadeus Capital Partners’ Andrea Traversone will join Travelstart’s Board of Directors as part of this financing.
“The market potential for Travelstart is huge and the company is already a tour de force in emerging markets. They are one of the most profitable e-commerce companies on the African continent and with this new round of funding Travelstart will be able to fast-track its already rapid growth. We’re excited to spearhead this round and to see the company’s continued growth and success,” said Traversone.
The company said that over the last year it has grown its staff to well over 200 located in Cape Town, Lagos, Cairo, Dar es Salaam, Dubai and Istanbul.
Building on this momentum, Travelstart aims to use the additional financing to continue expanding its global reach, accelerate product growth and innovation, and invest in additional sales and marketing resources.
“This investment in the largest multi-national player in a very large and rapidly growing market positions MTN as an enabler of exciting new leading edge businesses. The MTN footprint, subscriber base, payment capability, network and brand awareness strongly underpin the synergies already being manifested in our other investments,” said Herman Singh, Group chief digital officer, MTN.