Online hotel booking service SleepOut.com has graduated from m:lab East Africa’s incubation programme, entrance into which it gained by winning in the Enterprise category of startups competition PIVOT East in 2013.
SleepOut was founded in Nairobi in 2011 to make online booking of accommodation easier, providing a secure marketplace connecting travellers with available accommodation.
Having since moved its headquarters to Mauritius, it operates in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, and plans expansion in the likes of Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi and the Indian Ocean islands.
“The mLab incubation programme was a great opportunity for the team to collaborate and exchange experiences with the Nairobi tech community. Having a space at Nairobi’s iHub kept us in touch with an ever expanding network of innovators, investors and mentors from Kenya and abroad,” SleepOut chief executive officer (CEO) Johann Jenson.
“The incubation space offered a quiet and dedicated space conducive for team building and “heads down” focus. Incubation at m:lab East Africa also improved access to resources including investors, mentors, potential partners, mobile trainings and an avid mobile community,” said m:lab East Africa.
SleepOut raised approximately US$200,000 in seed funding last year to finance its expansion across markets in Africa and the Middle East, with the round led by the African Media Ventures Fund (AMVF). The company is also in talks to raise a Series A round next year.
Disrupt Africa reported last month SleepOut.com beat 11 competitors to win the 2014 Startup Battle of the Cities (SBOC) award at IdeaLab! – The Founders Conference in Vallendar, Germany.
Jenson told Disrupt Africa he was surprised and proud to have won the award ahead of competition from startups from the likes of Tel Aviv and Dublin.
“Coming from Africa, we did not expect to be able to compete on-level with European and American startups so we’re very much honoured to have been selected as winners at such a prestigious event so far from home,” he said.
“Hopefully this will help with our expansion and fundraising efforts, or even inspire more tech entrepreneurs to make this beautiful island their home.”