Nigeria’s Secures $1.2m Investment | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Business, Tourism

Nigeria’s Secures $1.2m Investment

Posted: May 29, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Abel Orukpe – Lagos, Nigeria’s largest hotel booking website, said that it has secured an investment of $1.2 million from international investors EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund, a seed-stage technology fund and Omidyar Network, the investment vehicle of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

According to eTN Rush, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer,, Mark Essien, who made this known, stated that the funding round followed on from the company’s 2013 seed investment of $225,000 from Lagos based

Spearheading Africa’s e-commerce revolution, has built its hotel network to cover 7,000 plus hotels in 21 regions across Nigeria.

The team of 34 has overseen one million plus hotel searches and ended 2014 with an operating profit.

He explained that having closed on this investment round, the company was now in a position to invest further in its technology capacity and look forward to expand in Ghana and French West Africa.

According to him, “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.

He added that this additional capital would allow the entity to realise the next stage in the ambitious growth plans, which would see consolidate its position as Nigeria’s market leader in online hotel bookings, with a view to expanding our service into other African markets, such as Ghana.”

Internet access in Nigeria, he said was predicted to grow from 16 per cent of the population to 50 per cent by 2025, propelling the country’s digital economy forward and driving more people online to facilitate offline activities.

He stated that is one of the country’s most exciting internet start-ups and it is a market leader in the online and e-commerce hotel sector.

In a bid to take advantage of Nigeria’s growing tourism industry, which currently represents 3.2 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the company is now tasked with facilitating millions more online transactions for the buoyant hospitality market.

Speaking on the development, the Managing Partner of Spark, Mr Jason Njoku, said, “Mark and his team are 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.

He stated that closing on this funding round was a big win, not only for, but for all African internet start-ups, adding that it was proof that 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.”

An Investments Director at Omidyar Network Ory Okolloh, said, “Omidyar Network knows first-hand the power of e-commerce to drive social and economic development. 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.”

On his part, Managing Partner, EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund, Eghosa Omoigui, said, “We were attracted to the opportunity in part due to the vision, leadership and integrity of its founder and the relentless execution the team displayed in building a profitable and robust e-commerce business in a challenging, but ultimately exciting market.”

He continued, Mark represents the type of high-quality and high-conviction African techpreneur that our fund is tasked with investing in. 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.”

Speaking further, Essien he and his team have been traveling in the last three years meeting and speaking with hoteliers, guest house owners and travellers

According to him, “We’ve spent three years travelling extensively across Nigeria, meeting with and speaking to hoteliers, guest house owners and travellers alike. Using this intelligence, we have built a platform centred on what works for them; User and product are core to every decision we make. Our mission was to ‘build local’ as a springboard for international expansion and this has resulted in really encouraging traffic and conversion figures so far. This new investment gives us the confidence and foundation on which to build out our vision for Nigeria’s e-tourism market.”, which is located in Yaba, Lagos, provides safe, secure online booking for both tourist and business travellers.

It provides detailed information on over 7,000 hotels, including images, price per night, availability, hotel amenities, location as well as a comprehensive user review and rating system.

It also has a safe and secure online payment portal, but also allows customers to pay on arrival.

All hotels on the site have been vetted by staff to ensure they are clean, safe and of a good standard.