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Hotels.ng Secures $1.2m Investment Fund From Pan Africa Fun

Hotels.ng has secured an investment of N236.4 ($1.2 million) from Echo VC Pan Africa Fund

Joy Onyemaechi

Hotels.ng Nigeria’s largest hotel booking website has secured an investment of $1.2 million from an international investor Echo VC Pan Africa Fund.

The foreign investor is a seedstage technology fund and Omidyar Network the investment vehicle of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. The funding round follows on from the company’s 2013 seed investment of $225,000 from Lagos based Spark.ng. Spreading Africa’s e-commerce revolution, Hotels.ng has built its hotel network to cover 7000 plus hotels in 21 regions across Nigeria Africa’s largest economy and most populous country. The team of 34 has overseen more than one million hotels searches. Having closed on this investment round, the company is now in a position to invest in its technology capacity and look to expand in Ghana and French West Africa.

Founder and CEO of Hotels.ng, Mark Essien says “We are 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 the 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.

Internet access in Nigeria is 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 activities. Hotels.ng is one of the country’s most exciting internet start-ups and is a market leader in the online and e-commerce hotel sector. Looking to capitalize on the Nigeria’s growing tourism industry which currently represents 3.2 per cent of the country’s GDP, the company is now tasked with facilitating millions more online transactions for the buoyant hospitality market.

Managing Partner of Sparks. ng Jason Njoku says “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. Closing on this funding round is a big win not only for hotels.ng but for all African internet starts ups. It is a proof that the internet market in Africa is extremely appealing for EchoVC, more of whom are now looking to create value and build big on the continent.

Managing Partner of EchoVC Pan-Africa Funds adds “We are attracted to the Hotels.ng opportunity in part due to the vision, leadership and integrity of the founder Mark and the relentless execution the team have displayed in building a profitable and robust e-commerce business in a challenging but ultimately exciting market. Mark represents the type of high quality and high conviction African entrepreneur that our fund is tasked with investing in. Hotels.ng 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 competitive selection process. We are delighted to be an integral part of helping fuel their next stage of meteoric growth”.

Located in Yaba Lagos, Hotel. ng provides safe online booking for both tourists and business travelers. It provides detailed information on over 7000 hotels including images, price per night, availability, hotel amenities, location as well as a comprehensive user review and rating system. It has a safe and secure online payment portal, but also allows customers to pay on arrival. All hotels on site have been vetted by Hotels.ng staff to ensure they are clean, safe and of good standard.

Essien concluded by saying “We have spent three years traveling extensively across Nigeria meeting with and speaking to hoteliers, guest house owners and travelers alike. Using this intelligence, we have built a platform centered on what works for them. Users and products are core to every decision we make. Our mission was to build local as a spring board for the international expansion and this has resulted in really encouraging traffic and conversion figures so far. This new investment gives us confidence and foundation on which to build out our vision for Nigeria’s e-tourism market.

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