Nairobi, Kenya, 14 February 2023 - Transportation systems in sub-Saharan Africa are challenged and underfunded. More than 30 million Africans rely on inter-city transportation daily, and the domestic transport industry accounts for $40B in yearly spending. And yet, streamlined transportation systems in the region are a challenge due to lack of funds and technology for mass digitization.
Renew Capital is helping to address this gap through its recent investment in BuuPass, a Kenya-based tech company with a web-based travel solution and a mission to make long-distance transport more accessible and seamless.
BuuPass founders, Wyclife Omondi of Kenya and Sonia Kabra of India, met at Earlham College (Indiana, U.S.) in 2013. Their common interests in entrepreneurship and solving social concerns led them to co-found the college’s first entrepreneurship club and BuuPass, an idea that won them a 2016 Hult Prize and the award of a $1M grant. The Hult Prize challenges young people across the globe to solve the world’s most pressing issues through social entrepreneurship.
“We both had experiences with not having accessible transportation,” says Kabra, noting that mass transit was in high demand in their respective home countries but hard to plan. Before BuuPass, most bus users in East Africa had to go to a bus station to purchase their tickets, which were still being processed on pen and paper. The BuuPass platform allows them to buy tickets online in real time.
Registered in Delaware, U.S., with subsidiaries in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, BuuPass’ B2C platform now processes more than 10,000 bookings per day for bus, flight and train transportation for travelers. It recently added personal and business parcel distribution through its bus network. BuuPass aims to build the digital infrastructure for transport across Africa and capture market share in Eastern, Western and Southern Africa by 2030.
The deal was signed as part of a Renew Capital Angels women’s investment package aimed at making East African SMEs more gender-balanced in staffing and services. “Wewanted to make sure that we build a company that is true to our values as well as de-risking ourselves by creating the right policies and culture,” said Kabra.
“BuuPass has proven to be a pivotal company in the transport industry in East Africa,” said Renew Capital Investment and Project Manager for Kenya, Esther Mwikali. “Renew Capital is proud to be part of this journey with BuuPass, kicking off our Kenyan portfolio.”
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. For the latest on investing in Africa, subscribe and follow us at our social links below.