[FOOTPRINT TO AFRICA: NIGERIA] Omidyar Network has announced an investment in a leading online hotel booking platform, Hotels.ng. This investment was made in partnership with Echo VC, a venture capital firm and is said to be worth around US$ 1.2 million which would be used to increase the site’s reach to 90% in Nigeria within the next three years and would also give the online booking platform, a chance to expand into 50% of hotels in other African countries. The Series A round investment is part of Omidyar Network’s Consumer Internet & Mobile initiative, which focuses on supporting new digital solutions to connect people, enabling them to share ideas and do business more efficiently and at scale.
“Omidyar Network knows firsthand the power of e-commerce to drive social and economic development”, said Ory Okolloh, investments director at Omidyar Network. “Hotels.ng 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.”
The CEO and founder of Hotels.ng, Mark Essien expressed that this investment would enable them forge ahead in establishing an operational base in Ghana
“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 realise 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.” he said
Eghosa Omoigui, Managing Partner of EchoVC’s Pan-Africa Fund, said: “We were attracted to the Hotels.ng opportunity in part due to the vision, leadership and integrity of its founder Mark, and the relentless execution the team 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 techpreneur 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 a competitive selection process, we’re delighted to be an integral part of helping fuel their next stage of meteoric growth.”
“As Nigeria emerges as a travel destination and attracts investment of the big international hotel chains, Hotels.ng offers small, family-owned properties an easy and cost-effective way to compete for new clients and expand their business,” said Mark Essien, CEO and founder of Hotels.ng. “Omidyar Network was a logical partner for us, as their social mission is very aligned with our own and e-commerce is in their DNA.”