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Nairobi-based bus ticket aggregator BookNow has closed a USD 75k round from 10 angels investors including local businessmen Mahendra K.D. Shah, Ravi Shah, Ritesh Doshi and four investors from their incubator 88mph. The company will use the funds to accelerate growth within the Kenyan market, by improving its product offering, and hiring customer support staff.
BookNow originally received seed funding from and was part of 88mph’s 2013 Nairobi accelerator program. The company was founded by Francis Gesora and Michael Nguru in August 2013 and aggregates bus tickets within the East African market from several bus operators. This allows travellers to access information as well as purchase bus tickets online and make payment via mobile money.
The company estimates the bus industry in East Africa can be currently valued at $150M and says they are the first startup to bring web and mobile technologies to the industry, challenging the manual, painstaking process of booking bus tickets, transforming it into a simple mobile process where bus tickets can be acquired in exchange for mobile money at the click of a button.
“The majority of travellers in Sub-Saharan Africa use the public bus system, but accessing information on schedules, pricing, availability of seats as well as acquiring a bus ticket is too tasking and can take a whole day” says Francis Gesora, BookNow’s co-founder and CEO. “This service brings advantages in speed, information, cost and time savings to bus travellers and the industry. We have pulled together an investor pool that brings strategic advantages to BookNow’s operations through their skills and expertise, which we are able to draw upon as we grow and expand.”