Nigerian online hotel booking platform Hotels.ng has raised a US$1.2 million funding round from Omidyar Network and EchoVC, which will be used to increase the site’s reach in Nigeria and expand to other African countries.
Hotels.ng, which was founded in 2012 and raised seed funding of US$250,000 from Jason Njoku’s Spark fund last year, connects consumers to more than 14,000 hotels across 21 regions of Nigeria.
The funding from Omidyar Network and EchoVC will be used to help the platform cover 90 per cent of Nigerian hotels in the next three years and finance the startup’s expansion to 50 per cent of hotels across Africa.
“As Nigeria emerges as a travel destination and attracts investment of the big international hotel chains, Hotels.ng offers small, family-owned properties an easy and cost-effective way to compete for new clients and expand their business,” said Mark Essien, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of Hotels.ng.
“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 realise 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.”
Ory Okolloh, investments director at Omidyar Network, said the company knows firsthand the power of e-commerce to drive social and economic development.
“Hotels.ng 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,” she said.
Njoku said Hotels.ng was 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 Hotels.ng, but for all African internet startups. 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,” he said.
Eghosa Omoigui, managing partner of EchoVC’s Pan-Africa Fund, said: “We were attracted to the Hotels.ng 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 and high-conviction African techpreneur that our fund is tasked with investing in. Hotels.ng 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.”