Cape Verde-based events startup merges with Portuguse company to help it scale

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Cape Verde-based event ticketing and marketing platform Passafree has merged with Portuguese company Best-id to form PassiD, with the new combined venture planning to scale across Africa and Europe.

Launched in 2017, Passafree provides event producers with an end-to-end management solution, including the ability to accept payments during events using RFID wristbands.

The startup was named winner of the Cape Verde leg of the Seedstars competition last September, after which it saw increased uptake, and it has now merged with Portuguese company Best-id to create PassiD.

Passafree founder Helga Ortet, who started selling tickets in 2011 as a university student, created the Passafree brand in 2015, and launched it as a company in 2017, said PassiD was currently operating in the the city of Praia but was working on having coverage on all the islands of Cape Verde. 

“In 2021 we will start to explore other markets in Africa and Europe,” she said.

The startup has played a huge part in bringing the local event ticketing and marketing space online, Ortet said.

“Initially, ticket sales were made by a group of young people who walked the streets selling tickets door to door, and I was part of that group. There was no online sales platform so I wanted to differentiate myself from other young people who sold tickets, and created the company and the app,” she said.

Passafree was able to build a level of market dominance, but as a self-funded entity has turned to the merger with the Portuguese company to help it scale more quickly.

“We earn commissions on ticket sales and cashless payments, and we have other extra services that we provide to event producers,” Ortet said. 

“On profits so far we have only covered expenses. We are not yet generating a profit, but this year has not been easy for anyone. It remains to see what 2021 will bring.”

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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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