Travelstart captures $40 million round, plots African expansion

South Africa-based online travel agency Travelstart has locked in a $40 million investment round, including backing from Africa’s largest mobile network provider.

The deal is being led by Amadeus Capital Partners and features mobile provider MTN Group.

Travelstart says the round will be used to expand the business around Africa and reaffirm its presence as the biggest OTA on the continent.

Part of the agreement will see founder and CEO Stephan Ekberg relinquish some of his personal capital to MTN.

The company was formed by Ekbergh in Sweden in 1999.

He relocated the business in 2006 and then sold the European assets to eTraveli in 2010.

Ekbergh says the investment has come at an important time for the company as it looks to scale-up the company and seize on the opportunity to partner with MTN, a network which has more than 60 million subscribers in Nigeria alone.

He adds:

“Travelstart’s goal has always been to put people in charge of their own travel arrangements – to help them save time and money while receiving excellent customer service.

“This capital gives us additional resources to expand quickly and strategically into new markets, innovate rapidly, and deliver on our vision in more countries.”

Travelstart currently employs around 200 people and has offices in Cape Town, Lagos, Cairo, Dar es Salaam, Dubai, Istanbul and Taipei.

Andrea Traversone of Amadeus Capital Partners will join Ekbergh in a newly formed board of directors.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Guillaume

    Great news for Travelstart and congrats to Stephan and his team. Stephan in my mind is one of those underrated minds and great entrepreneurs in the travel industry who got the balls to focus quite early in South Africa and beyond. Looks like this focus has paid off and more is to come I am sure.


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