Nigeria’s Wakanow.com to receive $40M from US-based Carlyle Group

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Global alternative asset manager, The Carlyle Group, has announced its move to invest $40 million in Nigeria-based Wakanow.com Limited (Wakanow), an online travel agency focused on West and East Africa, with principal operations in Nigeria.

Wakanow was founded in 2009 and has since become one of West Africa’s largest full-service online travel companies, providing customers with a one-stop online booking portal for flights, hotels, holiday packages, and other travel services and ancillaries.

Carlyle’s is an experienced investor in the online travel sector, with a portfolio of investments in companies such as C-trip, one of the major online travel agencies operating across China, the Latin American travel and tour operator CVC Brasil, and Vasco Turismo, one of the largest travel operations groups in Peru. Wakanow.com being the latest addition to its portfolio.

Co-Founder and CEO, Wakanow, Obinna Ekezie, expressed his excitement about the investment saying, “We are excited to partner with Carlyle as we continue to grow and expand in Africa and beyond. Carlyle’s global footprint and scale, as well as its extensive experience and networkin the online travel sector, will help us to further develop our offerings and broaden our customer base.”

Carlyle Group MD, Idris Mohammed said, “Wakanow has experienced incredible growth since inception, disrupting the travel market and taking market share both online and offline. We believe that this strong growth trajectory will continue as Wakanow benefits from an expanding middle class across the continent in addition to increasing internet penetration and mobile connectivity, which is driving increased online traffic. We look forward to working with Wakanow’s management team to help them deliver on their vision for growth and expansion.”

Platform Capital’s Chief Investment Officer, Mayowa Ayodele said, “We are happy to partner with Carlyle and look forward to working together with them to strengthen Wakanow’s market position, accelerate innovation, deepen its systems and processes to realise the vision of a truly world class online travel agency with African roots.” Platform Cap is one of Wakanow’s lead investors.