Home Startups secures US$1.2m investment secures US$1.2m investment

by Paul Adepoju
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Online hotel booking platform this morning announced it has secured an investment of $1.2 million from international investors EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund, a seed-stage technology fund, and Omidyar Network, the investment vehicle of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The funding round follows on from the company’s 2013 seed investment of $225,000 from Lagos-­based

Having closed on this investment round, announced it is now in a position to invest further in its technology capacity and look to expand in Ghana and French West Africa.

Mark Essien, Founder & CEO of said: “We’re forging ahead into relatively uncharted territory; E-commerce in Africa is a massive market to conquer, but there are no hard and fast prototypes from which to follow; We cannot simply replicate Western models here; we have to build our own blueprints from scratch, which takes significant investment, both in terms of time and money. This additional capital will allow us to realize the next stage in our ambitious growth plans, which will see us consolidate our position as Nigeria’s market leader in online hotel bookings, with a view to expanding our service into other African markets, such as Ghana.”

Jason Njoku, Managing Partner of Spark added: “Mark and his team are the future of Africa’s digital economy; They are hungry for success, innovative in their approach to building their market and rigorous in their business execution. Closing on this funding round is a big win, not only for, but for all African internet start-ups. It is proof, if any more were needed, that the Internet market in Africa is extremely appealing for VCs, more of whom are now looking to create value and build big on the continent.”

Ory Okolloh, investments director at Omidyar Network said: “Omidyar Network knows firsthand the power of e-commerce to drive social and economic development. hits all the marks of an investment with positive impact by leveraging online technology to connect buyers and sellers, supporting local small and medium businesses, and boosting consumers’ confidence in digital channels.”

Eghosa Omoigui, Managing Partner, EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund said: “We were attracted to the opportunity in part due to the vision, leadership and integrity of its founder Mark, and the relentless execution the team displayed in building a profitable and robust e-commerce business in a challenging, but ultimately exciting market. Mark represents the type of high-quality & high-conviction African techpreneur that our fund is tasked with investing in. is now in the very best position to continue on its upward trajectory of being West Africa’s foremost online travel and hospitality platform.  Following a competitive selection process, we’re delighted to be an integral part of helping fuel their next stage of meteoric growth.”

“We’ve spent  three  years  travelling  extensively  across Nigeria, meeting  with and speaking  to hoteliers, guest house owners and travellers alike. Using this intelligence, we have built a platform centered on what works for them; User and product are core to every decision we make. Our mission was to ‘build local’ as a springboard  for international  expansion  and this has resulted in really encouraging  traffic and conversion figures so far. This new investment gives us the confidence and foundation on which to build out our vision for Nigeria’s e-tourism market,” concluded Essien.

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