As Cloud9xp co-founder, Tesh Mbaabu explained, while HotelOnline would be absorbing the company, it would still maintain its brand. The acquisition positions Cloud9xp in a position to be become the B2C channel for HotelOnline’s Africa-focused hotel booking platform which has so far primarily focused on B2B operations.
Cloud9xp’s managing director, Winnie Kamathi, said, “We would like to extend a special thanks to all of our customers and partners who have supported us, advised us, given us priceless feedback, and allowed us to build the largest leisure experience marketplace in Africa. We will be working on more things at HotelOnline, and will continue to make Cloud9 services available to everyone.”
Cloud9xp has come a long way since its launch in 2016 by college buddies, Tesh Mbaabu and Mesongo Sibuti. The self described ‘An online retailer and booking service for leisure experiences” raised US$ 75,000 at the KCB Lion’s Den Show in 2018 from investors, Darshan Chandaria and Wandia Gichuru.
In June of 2019 Cloud9xp merged with Heartbeat Adventures, a tech-enabled tours and travel companies in the region.
Speaking to TechMoran on the merger, Cloud9xp Cofounder, Tesh Mbaabu said, “Cloud9XP acquired Heartbeat Adventures. We wanted to strengthen our position in the market by integrating a traditional tours and travel business with experience in on-ground operations with a modern, e-commerce traveltech, hence bridging the gap for the African consumer and increasing our product basket size and capabilities for the inbound traveler.”
Thereafter, the company introduced services such as holiday/vacation bookings, in-destination management, accommodation, flight bookings and on ground transport/transfers.
At the time, Cloud9xp Chairman and Executive Chairman and co-founder of HotelOnline, Håvar Bauck, said “Cloud9XP is one of the most exciting ventures in the African traveltech space at the moment. The merger with Heartbeat Ventures creates a new, disruptive force in an industry begging for innovation. Hotel distribution has moved online, but tours and activities are still marketed and distributed the same way they were 30 years ago. Cloud9XP now moves to fill that space, to enable e-commerce and digital marketing for the entire industry, in Kenya and beyond.”
HotelOnline was founded in 2014 as an e-commerce and digital marketing platform for hotels. It has since served over 1,500 hotels across 18 markets in Africa and the Middle East.