Kenyan leisure marketplace Cloud9xp acquired by HotelOnline

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Kenyan leisure marketplace Cloud9xp has been acquired by HotelOnline in a share swap deal that will see the startup essentially become the B2C channel of the Africa-focused hotel-booking platform.

Launched in 2013 by second-year college friends Mesongo Sibuti and Tesh Mbaabu, Cloud9 is an online retailer of experiences and merchandise, selling a range of outdoor activities and branded apparel.

The startup has been busy in the interim period – raising funding, taking part in the Google Launchpad Africa accelerator, pitching at DEMO Africa in Morocco, and launching mobile apps.

In June of last year, Cloud9xp merged with Heartbeat Adventures, retaining its brand, while the original founders started focusing on retail-tech startup MarketForce, with Cloud9xp part of the broader Mesozi Group.

Having recently increased its scope to include flight and hotel booking, the company has now been acquired by HotelOnline as part of a share swap deal. Founded in 2014, HotelOnline is a leading e-commerce and digital marketing platform for hotels that has helped more than 1,500 hotels across 18 markets in Africa and the Middle East increase their revenues. 

Mbaabu told Disrupt Africa the Cloud9xp team was being absorbed into HotelOnline, but its brand would continue to exist and run as the B2C channel of HotelOnline, which until now has been primarily B2B-focused.

“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,” said Winnie Kamathi, Cloud9xp’s managing director.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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