Shorooq Partners leads Seed Round for QuickBus, an African bus booking Platform that gives power to the passengers
2019 marks a breakthrough for transportation in Africa as the QuickBus booking platform sweeps across the African continent. By aggregating bus booking for all major bus operators, QuickBus simplifies the confusing transport landscape that holds back African mobility. QuickBus also introduces safety and comfort selection features that open up and enhance bus travel for all kinds of passengers. Backed by strong investors from the region such as Shorooq Partners, QuickBus is set for continued strong growth in 2020 and beyond, driving African bus transport into the 21st century.
Like a Skyscanner or Kayak for long-distance buses in Africa, QuickBus already serves three major markets in Kenya, Uganda, and Angola. The company has also secured partnerships in a further seven major markets across the continent and is aiming to cover most of the sub-Saharan Africa region inside 3 years, serving a market of 800 million people. The QuickBus platform will drive a new level of efficiency and quality of service to a rapidly developing market that is demanding better transport.
“When you book a bus, you should know more than the price and the destination, you should also know more about the experience you’re going to have. That’s how it is in other parts of the world and Africa shouldn’t be any different,” said Humphrey Wrey, QuickBus founder and CEO. “Our platform allows customers to see reviews and select seats based on their preferences because knowing if your 18-hour journey will be very uncomfortable or quite comfortable is valuable information. That was the genesis of the QuickBus idea.”
QuickBus has introduced a number of customer-focused services found in more established global markets. Women can now choose to be seated next to other women on night buses, for example, similar to the protocol used in India to create more security for female travellers. The QuickBus customer rating system, meanwhile, provides African travellers with an honest and transparent booking process. This will boost service and efficiency across the sector, bringing offline operators online and raising the standard of bus transportation in general, to the benefit of all passengers.
“The feedback-loop provided by user ratings gives the power back to the people, allowing them to vote with their dollars and hold bus companies accountable to their performance standards. Buses are the primary form of transport in much of Africa, so by raising the standard of buses you also make a positive impact on the economy in that region,” says Wrey. “We’re working very closely with bus operators who are seeing exponential growth in tickets processed through our platform as each market increasingly gets accustomed to the convenience of booking bus tickets online and through the app.”
There are an estimated 801 million bus travellers making more than 3.1 million bus trips daily in the sub-Saharan region being targeted by QuickBus in the coming years. With a total of $24.2 billion spent on bus tickets in the region, a total addressable market of $2.4 billion has been identified, attracting significant investor attention. This round’s lead investor are UAE-based Shorooq Partners, founded in 2016 - a leading early stage, technology focused venture capital firm and acclaimed by Forbes Middle East as the Top 20 VCs in the region. Shorooq are joined by a number of other institutions such as EchoVC and the Oman Technology Fund (OTF) who are very active in the African transport space, having also made an investment in Swvl.
“Having grown up and operated businesses in the region I have experienced first-hand that the opportunity in the long-distance mobility space in Africa is massive and having seen this segment disrupted in other emerging markets we were actively studying the East African market to see who was leading the way. This is when we met QuickBus and its strong management team, which made us firm believers in their ability to execute and dominate this space,” said Kunal Savjani Partner at Shorooq Partners. "An effective solution to an underserved problem, a passionate founder, potential for explosive growth and international scalability is what we look for when looking at startups, and QuickBus fits the mould perfectly."