[Kenya] Digital bus ticketing firm BuuPass raises $1.3m for East African expansion
BuuPass, a digital bus ticketing company founded in 2016, has raised $1.3m in pre-seed round to expand its transport solutions across East Africa.
The company was founded by Wycliffe Omondi and Sonia Kabra, and initially operated as Magic Bus Ticketing. Back then, BuuPass was a B2C company, providing a digital ticketing platform for bus companies. According to the founders., most bus companies were still using manual ticketing and many weren’t ready to adopt the company’s technology, forcing them to change their model.
BuuPass then developed a B2B2CC platform, proving bus companies with a bus management system where they are able to control their fleet, sales, and inventory. It then connects them with a marketplace where passengers can book tickets and compare prices of different bus operators via a mobile app, website, and USSD.
The new funding was raised from Founders Factory Africa, FrontEnd Ventures, Adaverse, Gullit, Five35, Renew Capital, Changecom, XA Network, Ajim Capital, Artha Ventures, Daba Finance, Google Black Founders Fund, and several angel investors.
“The funding will enable us to invest in growth activities, increasing our market share in East Africa, with a focus on Kenya and Uganda. We will hire a team, especially on the growth side, and technology experts so that we can build systems for scale because our plan is to become a pan-African infrastructure for long-distance transportation,” said co-CEO, Sonia Kabra.
BuuPass has reported processing nearly 12,000 transactions per day across its booking channels, with more than 9 million ticket sales processed so far. Last year, the company recorded a Gross Merchandise Value(GMV) of slightly over $30 million. The startup has a fleet of 1,200 vehicles under its management, engaged from 25 bus companies.
In 2017, BuuPass partnered with Safaricom to clinch the tender to facilitate train bookings for Kenya Railways.
“Partnering with Safaricom enabled us to land the Kenya Railways (operators of the national train grid) deal and validated our solution and capacity to build solutions for high value transactions. “ Kabra said, “It also enabled us to build trust in the market, and helped us think about scale such that we have developed solutions capable of handling millions of transactions and providing a seamless experience for the end user. It’s been a great validation for us to prove our credibility in the market,”.