Hotels.ng Thrilling Ride
Nigeria – Nigeria’s leading hotel booking website, Hotels.ng, has raised $1.2 million from the Omidyar Network, the investment vehicle of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and EchoVC Pan-Africa Fund, a seed-stage technology
Founded in 2013 by Nigerian entrepreneur Mark Essien, Lagos-based Hotels.ng aims to provide affordable, safe and convenient online bookings for Nigerian hotels for both tourist and business travelers. He had only about $70,000 in capital.
Hotels.ng also plans to focus on its mobile platform, since many consumers in Africa access the Internet exclusively through their smartphones.
This is the second time Hotels.ng would be raising money. In 2013, Lagos-based business accelerator Spark, made a seed investment of $225,000 in the company. The company is already profitable, though Mark Essien refuses to disclose revenue figures.
In a private email to this writer, Essien said his company plans to use the new funds to invest further in its technology capacity and in pursuing expansion into Ghana and French West Africa.
“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 realize 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.”