BuuPass raises $1.3 million to expand mobility industry digitalization in Africa • TechCrunch

BuuPass raises $1.3 million to expand mobility industry digitalization in Africa • TechCrunch

BuuPass raises $1.3 million to expand mobility industry digitalization in Africa • TechCrunch

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The public transport sector in Kenya is largely traditional and a majority of operators, especially those traveling by road, still require their customers to physically book tickets at their offices, even when planning their journey abroad. ‘advance. Others have no provisions for seat reservation.


Seeking to bridge the gap, booking platforms are emerging in the space, including BuuPass, which is actively seeking to promote order in the highly fragmented industry by helping operators digitize their operations.

The company, which was founded in Kenya seven years ago, plans to expand into Kenya and Uganda first, before exploring other markets backed by $1.3m pre-seed funding. dollars she has raised from Founders Factory Africa, FrontEnd Ventures, Adaverse, Gullit, Five35, Renew Capital, Changecom, XA Network, Ajim Capital, Artha Ventures, Daba Finance, Google Black Founders Fund and several angel investors.

“The funding will allow us to invest in growth activities, increasing our market share in East Africa, with a focus on Kenya and Uganda. We will hire a team, especially on the growth side, and technology experts so that we can build large-scale systems, as our plan is to become a pan-African infrastructure for long-distance transport,” the co said. -CEO, Sonia Kabra, who co-founded BuuPass with Wycliffe Omondi in 2016.

BuuPass, a complete B2B2C marketplace, provides operators with a Bus Management System (BMS) to manage their operations, inventory and sales. It then connects them to its marketplace, where passengers search, compare and book their tickets using different channels including websites, apps and USSD codes.

The BMS includes a point-of-sale solution to capture transactions and provide access to a package management module.

BuuPass claims that operators using its BMS are able to better manage their fleets and businesses, access data they can use to gain insights from and reduce cash leakage, while increasing sales from online reservations.

The company says it processes around 12,000 transactions per day across its booking channels and has recorded over 9 million ticket sales to date. Its gross merchandise value was just over $30 million in 2022.

It supports a total fleet of 1,200 vehicles from over 25 bus companies, including one of the oldest, Easy Coach. Travelers can also book air and train tickets, which is especially convenient for travelers using the country’s rail network for intercity travel.

In Kenya, BuuPass, in partnership with Safaricom, the parent company of mobile money service M-Pesa, won the contract to facilitate train reservations in 2017.

“Partnering with Safaricom enabled us to land the deal with Kenya Railways (National Railway Network Operators) and validated our solution and ability to create solutions for high value transactions. confidence in the market and helped us think at scale so that we developed solutions that could handle millions of transactions and deliver a seamless end-user experience. This was a great validation for us. to prove our credibility in the market,” said Kabra.

Sonia and Omondi met in 2013 at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, USA, and their interest in entrepreneurship and finding solutions for the transport sector in emerging markets led them to co-found the college’s first entrepreneurship club and BuuPass. In 2016, they won the $1 million Hult Prize, a grant backed by Bill Clinton that helped them launch BuuPass (known then as Magic Bus Ticketing) in Kenya as a B2C platform.

However, they quickly realized that the idea was not feasible as most bus companies’ operations were overwhelmingly manual, hence the need to prioritize digitization.

“We went deeper into the market and found there was a bigger problem with bus operators; they mainly used pen and paper to do the ticketing, they had no transparency on their sales. There were a lot of money leaks, and they weren’t able to scan and access users logging in every day. And so, we built a bus management system for them,” Kabra said.


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