Travelbeta, the self-styled Nigeria’s version of Expedia, and the nation’s newest online travel agency says it has raised $2 million in seed fundings from Nigerian investors in an ambitious bid for market domination by three years.
Travelbeta says it landed the investment to tap stakes in the growing online travel business barely six weeks after its website went live on the 1st of October, 2015.
Travelbeta & Tours Limited, the controlling company of the flights and hotel booking platform, began operating as a physical agency in July 2015 before switching online in October 2015. Travelbeta has since generated $522,000 in revenues since, according to promoters of the online business.
“We have raised a seed fund of $2,000,000 from a group of Nigerian Investors (led by Altheus Limited) who believe we can dominate the Nigerian travel industry in the next three years based on our unique business model, the capability of the team leading this vision and the potential of the market size in Nigeria”, Onyeka Akumah, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer of the online travel business says.
Akumah says the company is in talks “with an increasing number of interested investors outside the country who are beginning to take African and in particular Nigerian travel numbers seriously.”
The new capital injection will fund aggressive online marketing, improvement of technology platform especially for mobile, real estate acquisition and boosting staff strength, Travelbeta says.
According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, 21 million Nigerians have travelled in and out of the country through airports in the last 12 months and only an estimated 300,000 of these bookings have happened through online travel agencies within the period.
Travelbeta (‘beta’ pronounced as pidgin English for ‘better’) says it wants to significantly blow up the online booking market through its superior customer experience delivery, provision of the cheapest travel rates in the country, 95% success-rate visa advisory services to destinations like Dubai, London or Cape Town and world-class technology matched only by telecommunication companies in Nigeria, the company says.
The company is supported by Amadeus and IATA, and provides bookings to over 300,000 hotels worldwide including over 1000 Nigerian hotels and flights to 900 destinations worldwide.
The Travelbeta.com founding team is made up of veterans in the online booking and technology space. Its Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Onyeka Akumah is an experienced marketing head who has worked as the marketing head of major online businesses in Nigeriaincluding Rocket Internet’s Jumia, Konga (with investment from NASPERS and Kinnevick) and online travel agency Wakanow. Also part of the team is Mr. Wale Ayorinde, Travelbeta.com’s Chief Technology Officer who has over 13 years’ experience in technology management with many organizations in both Nigerian and California, US. The Head of Operations is Mr. David Asuku, a veteran and pioneer of several products in the local travel business. He has over 15 years’ experience in the Nigerian travel industry and was involved in the start-up and management of several travel companies including Holloway Travels, according to a statement by the company.